28 Nov 2019

South Korea’s Dust Dilemma Forces Coal Plants Into Hibernation

28 Nov 2019  by Heesu Lee and Dan Murtaugh   
South Korea plans to halt several coal-fired power plants this winter to try and clear toxic dust that forces residents to wear face masks and confines children indoors.

South Korea will shut as many as 15 coal plants and run all others at 80% of capacity for three months from Dec. 1 as part of efforts to cut emissions by 44%, according to a Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy spokesperson. On weekends when outdoor activity is the highest, the government will force plants to reduce run rates even more.

Coal is the largest source of electricity generation in South Korea

This is the first time South Korea is restricting coal in winter after regularly shutting plants in the spring, which is typically the worst time of the year for dust. Air quality has worsened in recent years, and it’s common for Koreans to download apps warning them when smog and dust approach dangerous levels.

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