by Will Davis
A sharp increase in reporting on KEPCO (the national Korean near-monopoly electric power provider) and KHNP (Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, the nuclear wing of KEPCO) the last two weeks or so by the Korean press has revealed a drastic reversal in the fortunes of this once-shining figure of Korean progress and success, and further implies ripples that perhaps could turn back an already flagging national economy.
Although Korean President Moon Jae-In was elected in part on having a “green” policy platform embracing the killing off of the entire Korean nuclear enterprise domestically, a poll by the Korean Nuclear Society last week revealed that 71.6% of Korean citizens surveyed want the country to retain nuclear energy, the Korea JoongAng Daily reported on August 17.  37.7% of the respondents wanted the country to expand its use of nuclear energy, while 31.6% desired to keep the percentage of energy generated by nuclear at the current level.
Hanbit NPP, Korea. Photo courtesy KEPCO.
According to JoongAng Daily, 52.3 percent of those surveyed said that they felt that the Korean government should increase the amount of aid it gives to KEPCO to export its nuclear technologies – a very hard sell overseas to customers who realize that the nation’s government policy is, for now, to do away with nuclear energy.  Who would buy something that the seller won’t use itself?
Aid for KEPCO may be needed more urgently, though, for its bottom line, as it has been reported widely in the Korean press that KEPCO is now in financial difficulty.  According to the Chosun Ilbo, KEPCO’s debt has “soared to a record W114.6 trillion” mostly as a result of the shutting down of one reactor permanently (well in advance of its license date), the keeping down of other reactors for inspections, and the vast increase in

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