SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's industry ministry said Monday it will announce the blueprint on fostering the country's nuclear plant decommissioning industry in March in line with its new energy policy.
While the government seeks to turn South Korea into a nuclear energy-free nation, there have been demands that the government should seek new opportunities to keep the country's energy industry running.
"We plan to prepare a plan to establish a nuclear-plant decommissioning research institute in the southeastern region of the country, along with a comprehensive strategy on fostering the industry by March," Industry Ministry Sung Yun-mo said, claiming that South Korea will emerge as the leading player in the segment starting with the dismantling of the Kori-1 reactor.
The Kori-1 unit in the southern port city of Busan was permanently closed in 2017 after 40 years of commercial operation, making it the nation's first reactor to undergo dismantlement. An official from the ministry said it normally takes 15 to 20 years to fully dismantle a defunct plant.
In October 2017, the government said it will seek to open a research center on decommissioning nuclear plants and develop released technologies to set its eyes on overseas markets as well.
Currently, Gyeongju, Ulsan and Busan are making efforts to host the research center. The government is widely expected to announce the location in March.
Seoul-Tokyo ties tipped for deeper rift after Japan's expanded export control: experts
Trade row with Japan, another headwind for Korean economy
Japan hides true intentions, leaving export curbs unjustified
Boycott of Japanese goods to intensify as Tokyo expands export curbs
Japan's broader export curbs aim for S. Korea's Achilles heel