South Korean professors held a discussion meeting in Seoul on Dec. 12 and urged the government to resume the construction of Shin-Hanul Nuclear Power Plant Units 3 and 4 so that South Korea’s export competitiveness in the nuclear power generation market can be recovered.
There, Soongsil University economics professor Ohn Ki-woon said that South Korea is no longer a powerhouse in the nuclear power plant export market and the South Korean government has to reconsider its policy so South Korean companies can regain their market shares. “Competitors such as Russia and China are implementing export promotion measures covering every part, ranging from nuclear power plant construction and fuel supply to repair, maintenance and spent nuclear fuel disposal, while providing aggressive financial support,” he said, adding, “In contrast, South Korea is not doing so despite its technological excellence proven by the fact that it is the only country having the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s design certification.”
Seoul National University Nuclear Engineering Department professor Ju Han-kyu remarked that Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction’s capacity utilization is likely to fall below 20 percent next year, the industry is collapsing with its 460 partner firms’ sales plummeting and their engineers leaving the companies, and an immediate resumption of the construction of the units can be a solution.
“The South Korean government is saying that it would help export atomic power stations while saying that it would reduce the ratio of atomic power generation, which is contradictory,” the professor said, continuing, “In the government’s budget plan for next year, budgets for nuclear power plant export assistance stand at 3.1 billion won, which clearly shows the government is not willing to support the industry, and what are needed in this regard are a special law for export assistance and an inter-ministerial council to be in charge of export negotiations, financial support and engineer training.”
Dongduk Women’s University economics professor Park Ju-heon explained that South Korea’s competitiveness in terms of nuclear power plant construction cost is second to none in the world. “According to Bloomberg, the construction cost per kilowatt is US$3,717 in the case of South Korea, which is lower than those of France, China and Russia,” the professor said.