The government on Monday announced it is sticking to nuclear power despite the recent disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
In a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik on Monday, the Cabinet released a new five-year plan for the promotion of nuclear energy. Such plans have been formulated since 1997.
The government will increase spending on nuclear safety but maintain the drive to expand nuclear power generation. It wants to complete the construction of six nuclear power plants, including a second one at Gori, by 2016 as planned.
It also hopes to boost exports of Korean nuclear power plants since worldwide demand is expected to grow, and buy stakes in uranium mines overseas to raise self-reliance from 6.7 percent in 2010 to 25 percent by 2016.
The budget for nuclear safety research will increase from W30.1 billion (US$1=W1,141) this year to W35 billion next year.
"We will maintain the current fundamental nuclear energy policy given the stable power supply and economic feasibility" guaranteed by nuclear energy, Kim said. "The government will give top priority to nuclear safety as well as making the most of nuclear power generation."