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Minister Lee holds conference for nuclear energy ecosystem revitalization 2022-08-11

Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Lee Chang-yang visited Changwon in South Gyeongsang Province on August 10 to hold a Nuclear Energy Industry Business Conference (hereinafter “Conference”) and to give an update on progress thus far following the previous conference held on June 22.

The Conference involved an MOU signing ceremony between Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), Doosan Enerbility, and nuclear energy industry’s equipment and materials manufacturers for the goal of revitalizing the industry ecosystem.

Specifically, the above MOU aims to raise competitiveness through mutual growth, through which further goals like carbon neutral, energy crisis response and power supply stabilization will be pursued. On this basis, Korea’s nuclear energy industry can seek project winning, joint technology development, people exchange and exports expansion.

Minister Lee outlined policy programs and directions across five major areas: 1) securing new projects 2) finance 3) R&D 4) Energy Industry Convergence Complex and 5) exports, placing emphasis on the need for interest and support towards securing projects and resolving financial difficulties.

For new project winning, KRW 130.6 billion worth of new projects are to be won by the end of 2022, with bids amounting to 86.2 billion won already opened, and remaining projects will likely be confirmed by October.

For financing, funds and special guarantees amounting to 100 billion won have been in operation since July for nuclear energy companies, and evaluation of 60 companies’ applications is underway.

For R&D, a 670 billion won R&D fund will be launched this year by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Ministry of Science and ICT and KHNP. In addition, 21.5 billion won worth of R&D funds will be reserved for only SMEs and begin receiving applications this month.

As nuclear energy companies are concentrated in Changwon, the Ministry is mulling the idea of designating the area as an Energy Industry Convergence Complex, where R&D benefits, local investment subsidies and tax cuts could stimulate the region’s growth. South Gyeongsang Province is currently preparing the application process.

For exports, the Ministry will kick off a committee on nuclear energy exports strategy next week to optimize exports potential of old power plants and materials, and ultimately create an ecosystem generating a steady stream of new projects.

During the Conference, Minister Lee stated that the Government will make the utmost efforts to revive the nuclear energy industry ecosystem and build global competitiveness. MOTIE plans to facilitate close communication with corporations and incorporate their needs into policy programs.