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S. Korea to build two new nuclear reactors by 2029

South Korea unveiled a new 15-year power supply plan Wednesday that calls for the construction of two new nuclear reactors to meet the country's growing demand for electricity.

Under the so-called basic plan for power supply, the country will build two new nuclear reactors by 2029, bringing the total number of nuclear reactors here to 36, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The country currently operates 24 nuclear reactors, with 10 others that are or will soon be under construction.

The decision to build two new nuclear reactors comes as the country's overall use of electricity is expected to increase by an annual average of 2.2 percent over the next 15 years, reaching 656,883 gigawatt-hours by 2029, with its peak demand expected to reach 111,929 megawatts, compared with 80,154 megawatts in 2014.

The ministry said such estimates still reflected an aggressive plan to cut the country's annual use of electricity and peak demand by 14.3 percent and 12 percent, respectively, from their business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2029.

"The goal is to reduce the increase in peak demand for power by 1 million kilowatts (1,000 megawatts) each year over the next 15 years, limiting the overall rise of peak demand by 2029 to 111,929 megawatts, instead of 127,229 megawatts," it said in a press release.

The latest power supply plan also partly reflects the government's ambitious plan, announced at the end of last month, to cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent from its BAU levels by 2030.

To this end, the government has withdrawn its plan to build four new coal-fired power plants under the sixth power supply plan.

This will lower the proportion of fossil fuels in the country's overall power sources to 32.3 percent by 2029 from 34.7 percent under the sixth power supply plan.

The proportion of nuclear reactors, on the other hand, will grow from 27.4 percent to 28.2 percent with that of clean, renewable energy sources inching up from 4.5 percent to 4.6 percent, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)