South Korea

South-Korea-nuclear.pngAs of 31 December 2022

There are 25 reactors operating in South Korea, providing more than a quarter of the country's electricity.

In March 2022 a new President, Yoon Suk-yeol, was elected on a platform that rejected his predecessor’s policy of phasing out of nuclear energy. In August 2022 the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) released an updated draft to the long-term energy plan, calling for an increase in nuclear capacity from 24.7 GWe in 2022 to 31.7 GWe in 2036. The plan includes the construction of six new reactors by 2033, along with operating lifetime extensions for existing reactors. In November 2022 the 10th framework plan envisaged nuclear energy increasing to 32.4% of total generation by 2030.

In December 2022 commercial operation of Shin Hanul 1 began, with unit 2 anticipated to be operational by September 2023. In February 2023 MOTIE announced that it was working to obtain the relevant approvals to enable Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) to restart preliminary construction on Shin Hanul 3&4 in September 2023.

Hanbit 4 returned to service in December 2022 having been taken offline for a “planned preventive maintenance” outage in May 2017. During the outage 'voids' were discovered in its containment building requiring repair. The five-year outage was also used to replace steam generators. Hanbit 3 was offline for similar repairs from 2018-2020.

Figure Ko1. Annual electricity output (TWh) and age of reactors (years) at time of generation


Figure Ko2. Average capacity factor of reactors in South Korea


Figure Ko3. Emissions avoidance through use of nuclear generation in South Korea


South Korea increases expected contribution of nuclear power : World Nuclear News - 12 January 2023

Korean nuclear reactor back online after 5-year maintenance outage : World Nuclear News - 13 December 2022

South Korean APR-1400 starts commercial operation : World Nuclear News - 7 December 2022