MOSCOW (Sputnik) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in approved the resumption of construction of the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 nuclear reactors in the southeastern city of Ulsan on Sunday after a state commission concluded that the project enjoyed public support.
According to Friday's vote results, the majority of the jury (59.5 percent of the 471-member) backed the resumption of the project, the state commission reported, while 40.5 percent voted for its cancelation.
"The government will quickly resume the construction of the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 nuclear reactors in accordance with the outcome of the debate," Moon said as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
The president, nevertheless, vowed that the efforts to build a nuclear energy-free nation would continue.
"The government will stop building new nuclear reactors, and once the stability in power supply can be confirmed, it will suspend the operation of the Wolseong-1 reactor, which currently is in operation after its designed lifespan was extended," Moon added.
The suspension of reactor construction was one of Moon's election campaign promises. After assuming office, the president, however, announced that the fate of the project would be decided by a state commission tasked with collecting public opinion on this issue.
The construction was suspended in July when the reactors were about 30 percent complete and around $1.4 billion had already been spent on the project.
The concerns about the safety of these reactors were raised after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the southeastern city of Gyeongju in September 2016. Experts have reportedly warned South Korean authorities that the country might face a catastrophe similar to Japan's Fukushima.
In March 2011, a 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake triggered a 46-foot tsunami that hit Japan's Fukushima nuclear power, leading to the leakage of radioactive materials and the shutdown of the plant. The accident is considered to be the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.