Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea

03/22/2024 | Press release | Archived content

ROK Joins World Leaders at Nuclear Energy Summit 2024 in Bid to Promote Nuclear Energy

1. Minister of Science and ICT Lee Jong Ho attended the Nuclear Energy Summit 2024, jointly organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Belgium on March 21 in Brussels, as the chief delegate of the Republic of Korea. At the Summit, Minister Lee presented Korea's policy measures in nuclear energy that aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and to promote nuclear energy as a carbon-free energy source.

2. The Nuclear Energy Summit, the first multilateral meeting at the highest level in the field of nuclear energy, invited leaders and representatives from over 30 countries to engage in discussions on how to harness the potential of nuclear energy in order to respond to climate change and to strengthen energy security. The participants at the Summit highlighted the role of nuclear energy as a key component of a global strategy to reduce the use of fossil fuels and to achieve net zero emissions.

3. This Summit comes after the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference held in December 2023, and the participants praised the recognition at COP28 of nuclear energy as an essential component of a clean energy transition. The leaders also emphasized the need to continuously increase global nuclear capacity as set out in the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy Capacity by 2050, and expressed their commitment to support investment and technological innovation in the sector.

4. Minister Lee Jong Ho set out Korea's nuclear energy policy measures such as the construction of new reactors and the extension of the operation of existing power plants. He underscored the importance of supporting the development of innovative and strategic technologies in the field of next-generation nuclear reactors, including small modular reactors (SMRs). Minister Lee also emphasized Korea's experience and capabilities in the building of nuclear reactors, as demonstrated in the successful construction of a total of 36 reactors, including the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in the United Arab Emirates. He furthermore stated Korea's strong commitment to boosting global nuclear energy supply by actively participating in overseas nuclear projects.

5. In his statement, Minister Lee also mentioned the Carbon-Free Energy (CFE) Initiative, a recent proposal by the Korean government to enhance global cooperation regarding the use of carbon-free energy sources. Minster Lee asked for global interest in and solidarity for the CFE Initiative as a crucial means to boost the use of carbon-free energy sources such as nuclear, renewable, and hydrogen energy in order to achieve carbon neutrality and industrial development.