* Will gather public opinion on the two reactors
* New president wants to address public concern over atomic safety
* Country’s oldest reactor was permanently closed last Monday (Adds detail, background)
SEOUL, June 27 (Reuters) - South Korea’s government said on Tuesday it would suspend construction of two partially-completed nuclear reactors while it gathers public opinion on the facilities and decides whether they should be scrapped.
The government said in a statement that it would form a committee that would spend about three months deciding whether or not construction of the plants should continue.
The move comes after the country’s new president, Moon Jae-in, said South Korea would stop building new nuclear power plants and not extend the lifespan of old reactors to address public concerns over atomic safety.
The part-completed Shin Kori No.5 and Shin Kori No.6 are located near the city of Busan, some 300 km (186 miles) southeast of Seoul. They were scheduled to be completed by March 2021 and March 2022 respectively.
If construction was scrapped, potential costs including compensation would be about 2.6 trillion won ($2.3 billion), South Korea’s Office for Government Policy and Coordination said in the statement.
South Korea is currently running 24 nuclear reactors after it permanently closed its oldest nuclear reactor, Kori No.1, last week. Nuclear power generates about one-third of the nation’s electricity.
Reporting by Jane Chung and Hyunjoo Jin