News / Asia

South Korea Goes Green While Promoting Nuclear Energy

South Korea Goes Green While Promoting Nuclear Energyi
X
September 13, 2013 3:01 PM
South Korea is one of the world’s biggest energy consumers and importers. The government is planning to build more nuclear power plants to meet rising demand, but some cities believe renewable, green energy is a better path to energy independence. From Seoul, Jason Strother has more.
Jason Strother
— South Korea is one of the world’s biggest energy consumers and importers. The government is planning to build more nuclear power plants to meet rising demand, but some cities believe renewable, green energy is a better path to energy independence. 

Seoul’s newly redesigned City Hall is going green. Up on its rooftop are just over 1,000 solar panels that produce electricity and heat the building’s water.

Kook Joung-yean heads City Hall’s energy division. He said the panels provided 28 percent of the building’s total energy needs, but he hoped they had a greater symbolic impact.

“We want to encourage the private sector to invest in renewable energy too.  We can show them how the solar panels work here at City Hall in hopes they will follow our lead,” he said.
 
South Korea has limited natural resources. The World Bank estimates that 82 percent of Korea’s total energy consumption comes from foreign imports, mostly coal and petroleum.
 
Park Ji-young, an energy analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said developing green technologies was one way to lessen that dependency.

“Renewable energy source is inevitable for Korea to maintain its sustainable development as well as the quality of life for the public," she said.
 
Park said green energy projects, like those at Seoul’s City Hall should be encouraged, but those alone could not satisfy all of the country’s needs.   

Nuclear power plants produce about one third of South Korea’s electricity. There are currently 23 facilities and over the next decade, the government plans to build nine more. The reactors remain a key part of South Korea’s roadmap for energy security.
 
Kim Jong-kyung is president of the Korea Nuclear Society. Despite heightened concerns over nuclear power following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, Kim said nuclear reactors were in fact a green technology.

“The CO2 output of nuclear power is only 10 grams per kilowatt hour. Emissions from liquid natural gas for example are 55 times higher.  That is why nuclear energy is green energy," he said. "Of course there are safety concerns, but as long as those are resolved, nuclear is the cleanest."
 
Safety concerns also have risen at some of South Korea’s nuclear plants.  In the past year, three reactors have been taken off line after faked safety certificates were discovered. And some government officials have been fired or jailed for accepting bribes from parts suppliers.
 
Back at Seoul City Hall, energy supervisor Kook Joung-yean said those safety and corruption scandals just made solar panels and other green technologies more attractive.

“This technology is developing very fast and we have government support. So I think in the future these types of renewable energies will replace nuclear and other non-renewable sources,” he said.
 
And Kook added when that happened, South Korea would be truly energy independent.

Malte Kollenberg also contributed to this report.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, T-SITE
September 13, 2013 9:05 PM
What is the definition of the "green energy"?

What is the definition of the "environmentally friendly"?

Only about CO2? Only about no use of fossil energy?
If you think that nuclear energy is "green" and "evironmentally friendly", please come to Japan and live in near the Fukushima Power Plant for the rest of your life.


by: Stephanie from: New York
September 13, 2013 1:28 PM
Helllooooo, nuclear energy is "green". It emits no carbon. It's also renewable. And it takes up far less space -- therefore killing fewer trees -- than solar and wind.

In Response

by: Stephanie from: New York
September 13, 2013 8:50 PM
Building and maintaining a nuclear plant doesn't require much more labor than solar and wind (which have to be cleaned constantly) especially when you consider that the big thing on the horizon are Small Modular Reactors-- which are..er..smaller and delivered to a site already assembled. And especially considering that you actually get something from your labor from a reactor while with solar and wind you get a teeny tiny amount of highly unreliable power.
Also this hang up about so-called "waste" (I prefer to call it "pre fuel") is a bunch of hype. We can deal with so-called waste the way the French (who get 80% of their electricity from nuclear) do: You recycle it. After the French are done squeezing and squeezing their nuclear fuel the amount of so-called waste is miniscule. France keeps twenty years of worth of waste under the floor (glassified and in lead canisters) of one large room. I've seen it.

In Response

by: Jay Dillon
September 13, 2013 4:50 PM
The "green" that nuclear energy is, is the "green" that you get when you feel really sickly. If you look at the CO2 released by an operating nuclear plant, as compared to CO2 released by various fossil fuels etc., without comparing the huge amounts of industrial work required to develop and build nuclear power plants and manufacture all their parts, to mine the uranium and refine it, to eventually figure out how to deal with the nuclear waste, how to store the spent fuel rods that are far far more radioactive than they were at the start, to deal with all the radioactive isotopes and prevent them from getting into the food chain, and on and on.. Come on, there's nothing "green" (ecological) about the nuclear power industry, and the big crooks promoting this stuff should know it by now.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid