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S. Korean president vows to nullify all plans to build new nuclear power plants

SEOUL, Jun 19, 2017 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday vowed to nullify all plans to build new nuclear power plants for environmentally-friendly energy sources.

Moon made the announcement at a ceremony in the country's southeast coast to decommission the Kori-1 nuclear reactor, the country's first and most aged nuclear power plant, according to the presidential Blue House.

The president said all plans to build new nuclear reactors, for which preparations were already being made, will be scrapped and that lifespan of existing reactors will not be extended.

He pledged to abandon the nuclear-centric electric power policy and open a post-nuclear era.

South Korea currently runs 25 nuclear power plants, which generate about 30 percent of the country's power supply. Many of the reactors are located near residential areas along the country's southeast coast.

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan raised concerns here about the safety of South Korea's aged nuclear power plants. A series of earthquakes, which happened last year, boosted such concerns in South Korea.

Moon said another aged nuclear reactor, whose lifespan was extended by 10 years to 2022, would be dismantled as soon as possible while considering the situations of power supply.

Among the 25 nuclear reactors being operated in South Korea, many of them will be subject to review over whether to extend their lifespans during the five-year presidency of Moon that ends in 2022. Moon took office on May 10.

Moon said the decommissioning of the Kori-1 reactor was the starting point to go toward a nuclear-free, safe South Korea, vowing to foster renewable energy sources such as solar and wind powers and LNG power plants.

He also pledged to decommission 10 aged coal power plants within his five-year term and to stop building new coal power plants.

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