The role of nuclear energy in 21st century for sustainable development in Korea

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With the growing international consensus concerning the harmful health and environmental impact of fossil energy use, there is on the political level recognition of nuclear power's potential role in delivering large quantities of energy without releasing common environmental pollutants and greenhouse gases. The energy consumption in Korea has greatly increased with rapid economic growth and industrialization since 1970. The average annual growth rate was 8% in 1970s and more than 10% in 1980s and 1990s except during the '98 financial crisis. Due to the lack of domestic energy resource bases, the rapid economic growth and industrialization has to be supported by the imported energy. Thus, the imported energy dependence of total energy supply has rapidly increased from 47.5% in 1970 to 97.5% in 1997. The fossil fuels share of energy consumption grew up to 88.2% in 1997. This resulted to CO2 emission of 140 million ton-C, which account for 1.8% of world greenhouse gases emission. (MOCIE, 2000) Because of rapid industrialization, Korea has relatively higher energy intensive industries compared to most of the developed countries with 3.1 ton-C/capita and 0.49 ton-C/million Won. Thus, energy policy is being focused on the improvement of energy efficiency and optimum energy mix for the reduction of GHGs. At present, 16 units of Nuclear Power Plant are in operation, 6 units under construction. The nuclear share of electric power generation was 43% last year. This share will be increased up to more than 50% by 2015. In order to meet voluntary GHGs emission target, a drastic switching to non-carbon energy bases would be necessary. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
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PROGRESS IN NUCLEAR ENERGY, v.40, no.3-4, pp.327 - 333

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