President Moon Jae-in said, "Our government will move away from an energy policy dependent on nuclear power and toward an era of denuclearization" while attending on June 19 an event to announce the permanent decommissioning of Korea's oldest Gori No. 1 nuclear reactor.
A government official explained, "Even though his remarks sounded like an ambitious declaration to get out of nuclear power, it was a reflection of the dilemma faced by the government" such as his announcement that his government would decide whether to stop the construction of Shin-Gori reactors 5 and 6 based on social consensus rather than unilateral government decisions. On the same day, he also hinted at electricity rates may go up due to recent decisions on nuclear power plants.
Shutting down the two reactors in Shin-Gori was an integral part of the President's election campaign pledges. He was, however, surprised by the opposition of residents in Ulju, South Gyeongsang Province, in which the new reactors will be built. In addition, more than 200 university professors who are expert in energy policy publicly criticized the new government's anti-nuclear policy stance.
Given the current progress of the two reactors is 28.8 percent, with so much money sunk in already, it is increasingly difficult for the government to stop building the reactors. The Korean Federation for Environmental Movement put out a statement on the same day after the President's announcement, "It was disappointing that today the President didn't mention his intention to scrap the Shin-Gori reactors, for which he promised to stop during his election campaign."