South Korea's industry ministry said on Tuesday it planned to increase nuclear power's contribution to the country's energy mix to 30 percent or more by 2030, up from 27 percent in 2021, and pledged to resume work on two stalled reactors.
South Korea's new president, Yoon Seok-yeol, has rejected the idea of phasing out nuclear power and made it a key promise of his election campaign to boost investment in the industry and restore its position as a leading exporter of safe reactors.
The shift toward a pro-nuclear policy in Asia's fourth-largest economy came after Yun byung-se won the March presidential election with the smallest number of votes in South Korea's democratic history.
The previous Seoul government tried to reduce the role of nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan triggered a global downturn in the industry.
The ministry said On Tuesday that South Korea would resume construction work on two new reactors, Shin Hanul 3 and 4, and extend the operation of existing reactors.
While increasing the role of nuclear energy, the country plans to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel imports from 81.8 percent in 2021 to about 60 percent in 2030, the ministry said.
"As the global trend towards carbon neutrality continues and global energy supply chain instability increases due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis and other factors, the role of energy policy in achieving energy security and carbon neutrality goals is more important than ever," the ministry said in a statement.
It will also review the previous government's renewable energy targets and decide on a new proportion of targets for solar and wind.
An industry ministry official said the share of renewable energy in the country's energy mix will be "effectively adjusted to below 30 percent" by 2030, compared with 6.3 percent last year and 60.9 percent to 70.8 percent forecast by the previous government for 2050.
The ministry added that coal would be reduced "reasonably", taking into account supply and demand.
South Korea is the world's fourth-largest oil importer after China, India and Japan, according to state-run Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), and its state-run Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) is the world's largest single corporate buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).