Updated August 1, 2017
South Korea is the world leader in the export of nuclear technology, with a current $20 billion contract to build four reactors in the United Arab Emirates.
The country’s 25 reactors provide it with one third of its total electricity.
Nuclear capacity in the country was set to increase from 23 GWe to 38 GWe by 2029, but under newly elected President Moon Jae-in, South Korea plans to completely phase-out its nuclear sector by 2060.
Without nuclear, South Korea’s emissions would increase the equivalent of up to 27 million cars added to the road.
The world's leading climate and conservation scientists published open letters urging President Moon to reconsider the phase-out given the importance of South Korea's nuclear program to protect the climate, and to warn of misinformation being spread by Greenpeace.
Nuclear power is a key component to achieving peace with North Korea and improving relations among world powers. Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes and Michael Shellenberger co-authored an op-ed in Foreign Affairs on this issue, while Environmental Progress coordinated an open letter signed by climate scientists including Jim Hansen, and other concerned scientists, conservationists, and environmentalists.
EP's visit to South Korea was covered by dozens of media outlets including the nation’s largest newspaper, which also published a long interview with Michael Shellenberger, an op-ed about why he changed his mind about nuclear, and an unsigned editorial endorsing our open letter.
EP published a comprehensive report, "The High Cost of Fear," outlining the impacts of a proposed nuclear phase-out in South Korea. A copy of the report can be found here.