President Moon orders temporary shutdown of old power plants in June

Updated By on May 16, 2017, 09:00 am
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President Moon Jae-in of South Korea heads to Yeomingwan office for the first time since he moved his residence to the Blue House, on Monday./ Source: Yonhap News


By AsiaToday reporter Kim Dong-hyun

On his sixth day as president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in ordered a temporary shutdown of coal power plants aged 30 years or over in June as part of the government's emergency measure to combat fine dust.

Currently, there are 10 coal-fired power plants that are aged 30 years or older in the country, but two of them in Honam area will be excluded from the temporary shutdown due to a possible shortage of power supplies in the area.

Yoon Young-chan, chief press secretary, announced the president's decision during the briefing session on Monday at the Chunchugwan press center of the Blue House.

The old power plants, that will be temporarily shut down in June, will be closed for four months from March next year, and all 10 aged power plants will be closed permanently within Moon's term.

"This shows president's strong will to set up the current fine dust problem on a national agenda and to provide a fundamental solution," Yoon said.

In addition, Moon instructed Kim Soo-hyun, the chief presidential secretary for social affairs, to set up a government body dedicated to combating the fine dust issue.

In terms of the measure's effect, Kim said, "Although it's difficult to judge all at once since fine dust emission depends on the season and wind direction, there are 59 coal power plants in South Korea that account for about 14% of all fine dust emission. The shutdown of 10 power plants is expected to reduce 1 to 2 percent of fine dust in the scientific level."

On the same day, president Moon visited Seoul Eunjung Elementary School in Yangcheon-gu, and attended the "Classroom for Understanding Fine Dusts", which taught its students how to combat fine dust in daily life. This was the second series of "President's Outreach" for spot inspection, following his visit to Incheon International Airport to tackle temporary employment in the public sector.

During his visit to the elementary, Moon officially announced instructions on shutdown of aged coal-fired power plants.

Moon vowed during his election campaign to temporarily close coal-fired power plants in spring, close 10 coal-fired power plants that were run for over 30 years earlier than scheduled, and review the construction of further coal-fired power plants.

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