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South Korea’s president says will continue phasing out nuclear power via Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday the government will continue to phase out nuclear-generated electricity, following a public opinion survey that dealt a blow to his plans to do so.

“We will completely stop all plans for the construction of new nuclear reactors like the government previously stated,” Moon said in a statement distributed to reporters by his office.

“The government will also step up usage of natural gas and renewables in order to maintain its stance of phasing out nuclear-generated power.”

Moon’s statement came after a public opinion survey on Friday found a majority of almost 60 percent in favor of resuming the stalled construction of two reactors.

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Completing the two reactors could mean a reversal of a strategy to slowly reduce nuclear energy’s share of the power mix, and also significantly eat into the liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand of the world’s second-largest consumer of the fuel.

With the two reactors set to be completed in October 2021 and October 2022, according to state-run nuclear operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Moon said safety standards for nuclear plants would be ramped up.

Moon also reiterated his plan to shut down the Wolsong No. 1 nuclear reactor, the nation’s second-oldest, once the government confirms stability in energy supplies.

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