SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- A South Korean government survey showed nearly 60 percent of participants supporting the resumption to build the currently-suspended two nuclear power plants in contrast to the government's efforts to reduce dependence on nuclear energy, a state commission said Friday.
According to the survey, 59.5 percent of participants supported the construction resumption of the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 nuclear reactors, with 40.5 percent opposing it.
It had 3.6 percentage points in margin of error with a 95 percent confidence level. The difference between supporters and opponents had a statistical significance, the state commission chief said in a televised press briefing.
The two reactors, which had been under construction since last year in the country's southeast coastal city of Ulsan, stopped construction in July to examine whether it was a right time to lessen South Korea's dependence on nuclear energy.
On his campaign trail, President Moon Jae-in pledged to abandon the construction of the two unfinished reactors, but Moon decided to make a final decision according to public opinion.
The presidential Blue House said after the announcement that it respected the commission's recommendation and would make best efforts to implement follow-up measures based on the recommendation.
The state commission was established to form a jury, composed of randomly-picked 471 ordinary people, providing them for nearly three months with information on the merits and demerits of nuclear energy.
Over the last weekend, the jury heard the final opposing arguments from experts in both sides and cast a final vote on it.
Before the suspension, about 1.6 trillion won (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) had been spent to complete around 30 percent of the construction.
Anti-nuclear calls arose here after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeastern city of Gyeongju, located near the reactor-concentrated coastal region, in September last year.
It was one of the most powerful quakes ever recorded in South Korea. New research findings showed the southeast region lying on an active fault, which means an earthquake-prone area.
The tremor reminded many South Koreans of the devastating Fukushima earthquake in Japan in 2011, which caused one of the worst nuclear accidents in the world with a series of explosions and meltdowns of reactors.
The southeast coastal region of South Korea is already reactor-concentrated. It already housed six nuclear reactors, with two more slated to start operation from next year. The Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 will bring the total number to 10 in the region.
Opponents to additional reactors in the region said South Korea must reduce dependence on nuclear energy and turn into renewable and clean energy for safety and environmental purposes.
It was in line with the Moon government's long-term plan to phase out the country's nuclear reactors over the next 60 years.
Proponents claimed the abandonment of the reactors' construction would raise electricity bills. Without the revision of electricity-charging structure, higher electricity costs will be centered on ordinary people, rather than industrial companies.