* Nuclear power to make up 29 pct of total by 2035
* Revises down plan for nuclear to grow to 41 pct by 2030
* Cut is least stringent of recommended options
* South Korea still looking to export its nuclear expertise
By Jane Chung
SEOUL, Jan 14 (Reuters) – South Korea formally adopted a lower target for nuclear power, but still plans to double its nuclear capacity over the next two decades as its state-run industry builds at least 16 new domestic reactors and pushes for overseas sales.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy has been under pressure to curb its use of nuclear power in the wake of a scandal over fake safety certificates for parts at some reactors and public unease sparked by Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
The new energy policy will cut South Korea’s reliance on nuclear power to 29 percent of total power supply by 2035, down from a planned 41 percent by 2030.
But South Korea remains deeply committed to nuclear energy and the decision was the least stringent reduction of a range of figures suggested last October by a public advisory group.
Despite putting the brakes on plans at home, South Korea still aims to sell nuclear technology abroad.
State-owned Korea Electric Power Corp won a contract in 2009 to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates and started construction in mid-2012.
It also hopes to build reactors in India, exporting its expertise into a global market that has been dominated by France, the United States and Russia. South Korean president Park Geun-hye will raise the issue when she visits India this week, her office confirmed.
The country currently has 23 nuclear reactors, which generate just over 20,000 MW of energy, with capacity expected to grow to 43,000 MW by 2035 under the latest plan.
It plans to add 11 more reactors by 2024, with five already under construction. A further five 1,400 MW reactors will be needed between 2025 and 2035, an energy ministry official who declined to be identified told Reuters, down from as many as 20 under the previous target.
In addition, the operating licences for 14 units will expire by 2035, more than half of the current total, although the ministry has yet to announce whether it would extend their operating life or look to replace them.
The ministry also said on Tuesday it plans to invest 1.1 trillion won ($95 million) in ageing nuclear facilities by 2017 as part of efforts to strengthen nuclear safety.
Related article: 韓国が原発依存度目標を下方修正、2035年までに29％に via Reuters