South Korea imposes emission standards on eight private coal power plants under construction that are stronger than those in Germany and Japan, a report said Wednesday.
The government has set the permissible sulfur oxide emission level at 15 ppm, which compares with 39 ppm for Japan and 70 ppm for Germany, according to the report written by Rep. Lee Che-ik of the major opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and based on data obtained from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and state-run electricity firms.
The level for nitrogen oxide was set at 10 ppm, while the comparable figures for Japan and Germany were 34 ppm and 97.4 ppm.
The eight coal-fired power plants will be able to create employment of up to 8.1 million man-days and add 1.7 trillion won (US$1.49 billion) in additional tax revenues to provincial governments, Lee said.
The lawmaker of the conservative opposition lamented that "the coal power plants being built have been blamed as the main culprit of environmental contamination, despite environmental standards 10 times stricter than those abroad."
The liberal Moon Jae-in administration announced the shutdown of the Kori-1 nuclear power plant in the southeastern port city of Busan in June amid concerns over possible power shortages and increases in electricity bills.
Moon, who took office in May, has also pledged to close several aged nuclear reactors and coal-fired power plants, so the country can shift to environmentally friendly sources of energy.