KHNP joins Egyptian nuclear project, but other projects in question due to phase-out

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[Graphics by Lee Eun-joo and Song Ji-yoon]

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP), the public operator of nuclear reactors, has entered into exclusive talks with Egypt to supply turbines to the country’s first nuclear power plant, and may raise hopes for more opportunities abroad while the European Union is the idea of ​​including nuclear energy in the green taxonomy, if not to contradict national policy.

Whether Korea can maintain supremacy in nuclear reactor technology amid growing global acceptance of nuclear reactors for carbon neutrality goals is questionable, as the funding base and industry habitat in Korea are weakening as part of the government’s medium and long-term policy of phasing out nuclear energy.

KHNP confirmed on Sunday that it is joining Egypt’s $ 30 billion nuclear power project by supplying turbine islands and other equipment for the nuclear power plant under construction by Russian company Atomstoyexport (ASE). A turbine island houses the generators that produce energy from steam in the nuclear reactor. The exact financial terms on the part of KHNP were not disclosed,

JSC ASE, a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom, won the contract for the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant in 2017. KHNP plans to work with JSC ASE to provide turbine buildings for four reactors totaling 4, 8 gigawatts.

Once the contract is signed, Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction will join as builders and other Korean producers supply surrounding equipment such as chillers, pumps and valves.

The KHNP has made efforts to export locally developed nuclear power plants and technologies, as they are in danger of being wasted as part of the government’s plan to wean off nuclear reactors for energy supply.

KHNP is engaged in discussions for nuclear energy exports to the Czech Republic and Poland.

However, its overseas sourcing efforts could be hampered by funding issues.

Nuclear was excluded from the green taxonomy guidelines established by the Ministry of the Environment on December 30.

The guide presents economic activities and standards for environmentally friendly economic activities. It serves as a guideline for local pension funds, public banks and private lenders in green investments.

An exclusion causes a setback among nuclear power plant operators like KHNP to raise funds for exports.

The nuclear power plant project in Egypt is being funded by Russia, an unnamed KHNP official said, while solo bids could be hampered by questionable funding from Korean capital.

In contrast, the European Union in the latest draft included nuclear energy projects as “green” investments on the basis that nuclear energy plays a vital role as a stable energy supplier while promoting the carbon neutral target.

The European Commission said in a statement that “taking into account current scientific advice and technological progress as well as the various transition challenges between member states”, it considers that “natural gas and nuclear have a role to play in facilitating the transition to a future mainly based on renewable energies.

EU countries like France, Poland, the Czech Republic and Finland, which rely heavily on nuclear power as an energy source, are in favor of including nuclear in their taxonomic regulations, while the Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal and Denmark which are engaged in nuclear energy oppose it. gradually eliminate.

Yoo Seung-hoon, professor of energy policy at Seoul National University of Science and Technology, said that funding for the first phase is important for exporting nuclear power plants and that the exclusion of nuclear power projects in the taxonomic directive would result in a setback in fundraising.

The professor called on the new government to add nuclear power projects to the system for industry support.

When announcing the Korean taxonomy last month, the Environment Ministry said it would revise the guideline after the trial period this year.

By Song Min-geun, Kim Deok-shik and Lee Eun-joo

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]


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