President Moon Jae-in on Sunday accepted a special panel's recommendation that construction resume on two nuclear reactors near the southeastern city of Ulsan.
"The government will quickly resume construction of the two nuclear reactors in accordance with the outcome of the panel's discussion," the president said in a statement released by Cheong Wa Dae. He added, however, that "the government will not build any new nuclear power plants and will work to make a nuclear-free nation."
Moon said his government will come up with follow-up measures to abide by the recommendation and bolster safety at nuclear power plants. The president also vowed to suspend the operation of the No.1 nuclear reactor at the Wolseong power station in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, which is currently operating beyond its intended lifespan. He added, "The government will continue to push its plan to boost natural gas and renewable energy."
Moon campaigned on a pledge to scale back reliance on nuclear energy and pursue a nuclear-free Korea.
The Wolseong reactor began operations in 1983 and came to the end of its scheduled lifespan in November 2012. It was then authorized to extend its lifespan for another 10 years until 2022. Civic groups and local residents have filed a lawsuit seeking to shut the reactor down.
Moon said he will push to set up a research center that will study ways to dismantle nuclear power plants and export the technology to foreign countries that seek to do the same.
The government will also work to help export the country's nuclear power technologies and knowhow.