President Moon Jae-in vowed to enhance the safety of nuclear reactors Sunday, accepting the recent recommendation by a public debate commission to resume the construction of two new nuclear reactors that he earlier promised to scrap.
"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," the president said in a statement released by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
The remarks came two days after the state commission, following its three-month deliberation process, recommended the two unfinished nuclear reactors be completed and put in operation.
The public debate began in July after the president agreed to first find out what the general public wished to do with the two new nuclear reactors whose construction already began in 2016.
Moon urged his supporters, as well as those who are in favor of building a nuclear energy-free nation, to accept the outcome of the public review that involved 471 citizens and experts representing both sides.
"I believe democracy becomes perfect when people have the right to discuss, and when they accept the outcome of such discussions. I also ask those who supported my election pledge to halt the construction to respect and accept the public debate commission's recommendation," the chief executive said.
The president said the government will instead work to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants, noting the Shin Kori reactors in Uljin will put the total number of reactors in the southeastern part of the country to 15, with millions of people to be within a 30-kilometer radius of these facilities.
He also vowed to continue building a nuclear energy-free nation, a process he earlier said will take decades.
"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," the president said.