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Experience curve analysis on South Korean nuclear technology and comparative analysis with South Korean renewable technologies

Kim, Dong Wook, Chang, Hyun Joon
Energy policy 2012 v.40 pp. 361-373
carbon dioxide, climate change, economic development, electricity, energy, fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions, industry, issues and policy, nuclear power, risk, sustainable technology, South Korea
Increasing awareness on environmental damage and climate change has induced many nations to engage in green growth. South Korea, as one of the largest consumers of energy, is no exception and has shown its determination to pursue green growth in the future. In order to do so, South Korea plans to substitute fossil fuel with alternative sources in electricity generation. However, the key constraint to green growth is the high cost faced by renewable electricity generation. Fortunately, nuclear energy can serve as an economic alternative to fossil fuel. To achieve CO₂ emission reduction and faster economic growth, it is wise to analyze prospects of alternatives using experience curve framework. The results and industry background are consistent for nuclear technology, and the results suggest that nuclear should serve as the main substitute. Consideration of policy risk inherent in renewable also strengthens the argument. Renewable technologies, on the other hand, showed overstated learning capacity that is partially inconsistent with technological background. Nevertheless, the renewable (photovoltaic and fuel cell²) should help nuclear marginally in substituting fossil fuel in South Korea's Electricity Generation.