June 02, 2021 14:17
The government has decided that taxpayers will cover the costs of President Moon Jae-in's harebrained nuclear phaseout initiative. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy revised an enforcement ordinance to the electric utility law and compensate businesses who were forced to halt their nuclear power operations due to the phaseout. It intends to tap into a state fund created to support the utility industry by a small tax on people's electricity bills and is now worth around W4 trillion (US$1=W1,108). State-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power has suffered W1.4 trillion in losses due to the early shutdown of Korea's second-oldest nuclear reactor in Wolseong, North Gyeongsang Province and halted construction of the two reactors in Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province, two nuclear power plants in Samcheok, Gangwon Province and another two plants in Yeongdeok, North Gyeongsang Province and now the taxpayer has to compensate them.
The nuclear phaseout debacle is the president's fault alone and has lost any moral high ground since it was revealed that a feasibility study for the Wolseong shutdown was deliberately doctored to enable it. Even lawmakers in the ruling Minjoo Party admitted that fear trumped rational argument, while Moon blithely agreed to cooperate with U.S. President Joe Biden to selling nuclear power plants to third countries. He must think Koreans are fools.
The follies do not end there. Moon wants taxpayers to pay for the Korea Institute of Energy Technology, affiliated with KEPCO, which he pledged to build in Naju, South Jeolla Province. Due to a declining birthrate, a quarter of universities in the country are facing imminent closure, but Moon wants to open yet another one. He even had lawmakers make a special law that will guarantee W1.6 trillion over the next 10 years to finance it. He wants to open at least one building on the campus before he is out of office in May next year and has already held a groundbreaking ceremony. The government has already made plans to recruit students for next year although only 20 percent of faculty have been hired.
Moon lied to voters by telling them he would not hike electricity fees or burden the public with the nuclear phaseout and opening of the new university. He needs to halt those projects now and apologize.
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