The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday defended the government's decision to temporarily suspend the construction of two nuclear reactors, saying it was made after "painstaking deliberations."
On Tuesday, Cheong Wa Dae announced that the government will halt the construction of the reactors in Ulsan, 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul, while it collects public opinion over the fate of the reactors. The final decision will be made by a group of "citizen jurors," it said.
This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows President Moon Jae-in. (Yonhap)
The move came amid President Moon Jae-in's pursuit of a policy shift towards clean, safe and renewable energy, which has triggered concerns about a potential surge in electricity bills and energy shortage.
"I would like to say that the president's painstaking deliberations or our society's views about nuclear reactors have led to the difficult decision to temporarily suspend their construction," a senior presidential official told reporters, declining to be named.
Following the decision, worries surfaced that the cancellation of the reactor construction, which is nearly 30 percent complete now, will incur some 2.6 trillion won ($2.27 billion) in losses.
"The reason for us to seek public opinion is that we believe we should accurately understand exactly what citizens' views are about the reactors," the official said. "It is not that we are shifting the responsibility to citizens."
As for the concerns about the rise in electricity prices, the official said, "We have set up a plan to suspend or build power plants under the premise that the plan would not lead to any energy problem." (Yonhap)