Saturday, December 9, 2017

The future of nuclear energy

At a recent international conference hosted here in Incheon, I had the privilege of sitting next to a Swedish expert on renewable energy at the opening dinner. Early in our conversation he said, to the best of my recollection, "The nuclear power industry cannot earn enough future profits to pay for both the decommissioning of power plants and the disposal of nuclear waste."  It appears that Korea's leadership has recognized this reality and is acting upon it, according to an article in The Korea Joongang Daily.  In fact, "nuclear dismantling industries" appear to be a growth industry.

Friday, December 8, 2017

South Korea's commitment to education, the basic process of the information age

In the final chapter of my 2011 book with Dr. Myung Oh, Digital Development in Korea:  Building an Information Society, we state that "Any catalogue of the major influences on South Korea's telecommunications revolution must begin with the importance of education, which is the basic process of the information age." (p. 188)  The release of sector-by-sector allocation of South Korea's 2018 state budget provides graphic evidence of this continuing commitment.  Note particularly that the education budget alone, not including R&D, far exceeds that for defense.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

North and South Korea both developing ICBMs?

These days the global mainstream media are full of stories about North Korea's efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear warhead too the continental United States.  However, as noted in a recent article in The Korea Times, South Korea is also working on ICBMs, but of a different type.  The first time I recall hearing about this was in a speech given at an international conference in Daejeon by former KAIST president Sung Mo Kang.  He used the acronym ICBM to refer to Internet of things, cloud computing, big data and mobile technologies, just as The Korea Times article notes. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Is Korea losing the race to build a green Internet?

Greenpeace has just published the 2017 edition of its series entitled Clicking clean:  Who is winning the race to build a green Internet The report contains interesting data on the proportion of global electricity consumption accounted for by the ICT sector, scorecards rating companies on their adoption of renewable energy, and a section on Asia which compares China, South Korea and Taiwan.  As shown in the graphic at left, (click for a full size version) only 1% of Korea's energy mix is currently renewable, compared with 5% in China and 4.2% in Taiwan.
Another interesting graphic  (shown at left--click for larger version)from the 2017 Greenpeace report compares the electricity consumption of the IT sector with that of major countries, as measured in billion kWh.  Those interested in where South Korea and its leading ICT sector companies stand in relation to other countries and global trends would do well to read this 2017 report.