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Korea looks to alternative energy for future power Updated: 2013-08-27 12:08:27 KST

 Korea looks to alternative energy for future power
Korea's rapidly developing infrastructure has led to a heavy reliance on nuclear power at more than 35 percent of the nation's total energy production.
For more than 30 years, nuclear power has provided commercially cost-effective electricity in Korea without the production of harmful greenhouse gases.
However, a series of forced shutdowns this past year has emphasized the importance of pursuing alternative energy sources.
Of the latest energy technologies being researched, nuclear fusion power has attracted attention for its major advantages over traditional nuclear reactors.
Nuclear fusion reactors are safer, more energy-efficient, and use abundant sources of fuel.
Harnessing the same process that powers the sun, a single gram of fuel can produce energy equal to eight tons of oil.
But the technology is still experimental.
Scientists predict the first working fusion reactor will be available by 2040.

"Practical advancements must be developed to address the limitations of renewable energy, which include finding ways to increase efficiency and reach feasible mass production methods."

Research in hydrogen technology continues to push ahead as a potential energy source for future homes and vehicles.
Hydrogen fuel cells typically only form heat and water as waste by-products, making it one of the most environmentally-friendly energy fields.
Solar power has also enjoyed some breakthroughs recently.
Unfortunately, both promising technologies continue to suffer from low efficiency and high costs.

"Above all else, developing energy technologies that do not rely [on non-renewable sources] is important for Korea and other similar resource-limited regions."

The Korean government plans to build an additional 16 nuclear reactors by 2030, which will make up more than half of the nation's energy capacity.
Merely increasing production is a stop-gap solution.
Diversifying energy sources and raising awareness of power conservation will be needed in order to reach a sustainable balance between supply and demand.
Paul Yi, Arirang News.
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