(Corrects figure on projected coal power generation in
paragraph 8 to 25 pct, not 15 pct)
* Leading candidates propose phasing back coal, nuclear
* Plans call for renewable power to make up 20 pct share by
* LNG to get boosted as a bridge to clean, renewable energy
By Jane Chung
SEOUL, April 12 No matter who is elected as
South Korea's new leader next month it is clear that coal and
nuclear power generation will likely be scaled back, with most
of the candidates laying out plans on Wednesday to address
public concerns over pollution and safety.
Less than a month from a May 9 election to replace impeached
president Park Geun-hye, policy experts outlined in a forum the
energy proposals of four of the five contenders.
The two leading candidates, liberal front-runner Moon Jae-In
and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo, both plan to lower South Korea's
reliance on coal and nuclear power, pointing to a need to shift
to renewable energy, according to their policy advisors.
In the latest poll by Gallup Korea, Moon got the support of
38 percent of respondents, and Ahn got 35 percent.
South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, gets 40 percent
of its electricity from coal, 30 percent from nuclear, 20
percent from natural gas, and the rest from oil and renewables.
But policy changes are expected amid growing concerns over
pollution and the safety of nuclear energy, and Moon and Ahn
appear determined to help drive them.
"We should move away from coal and nuclear power, and shift
to clean or renewable energy-based platforms," said Kim
Jwa-kwan, head of Moon's energy policy team.
Kim said his team planned for nuclear and coal power to
account for 18 percent and 25 percent respectively of power
supply by 2030, while the contribution of liquefied natural gas
(LNG) would increase to 37 percent to support the rise of
If elected, Moon also "would scrap a plan to build Shin Kori
No.5 and Shin Kori No.6 nuclear reactors on which construction
began last year and revamp the country's nuclear power expansion
scheme," Kim said.
That means South Korea's plan to build 11 nuclear reactors
by 2029 could be under threat.
Ahn would similarly shelve a plan to construct four
coal-fired power plants and not extend the lifespan of ageing
coal and nuclear power stations, said Oh Jeong-Rye, deputy
director of Ahn's People Party.
Both candidates target a 20 percent renewable energy share
by 2030 as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions.
Under the current power supply plan, in addition to building
11 nuclear reactors by 2029 - three of which are already under
construction - South Korea plans to add 20 more coal-fired power
plants by 2022.
Policy experts for two other candidates - the conservative
Bareun Party's Yoo Seong-min and the left-wing Justice Party's
Sim Sang-jung - also said they would overhaul South Korea's coal
and nuclear energy policy.
Sim would cut nuclear power to zero by 2040 and phase out
coal by 2060, according to her energy advisor.
(Reporting By Jane Chung; Additional reporting by Heekyong
Yang; Editing by Tom Hogue)