Repower Initiative and KAIST Begin Collaboration

December 11, 2023

We are proud to announce that the Repower Initiative began its collaboration together with a research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

KAIST research team joins Repower Initiative to investigate techno-economic alternatives for coal phase-out

[Seoul, 10/11/23] - Repower - a programme repowering coal power with clean heat sources such as nuclear and geothermal – have announced a formal collaboration with a research team at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the leading science and technology university in South Korea.  

The partnership will examine the challenges and opportunities in South Korea of reusing coal power plants but switching the source of heat to host advanced nuclear systems, geothermal, electrical heat stores or the use of existing coal power plants as grid interconnection points for new renewable energy generation – an alternative to simply retire aging and polluting coal plants. A comprehensive analysis will review a variety of key factors, including technology options and suitability, the policy and regulatory environment, financing and public acceptance.  

Professors Jeong Ik Lee, Man-Sung Yim, and Yonghee Kim of KAIST will lend their extensive expertise to this undertaking, building on existing Repower partnerships with Industry, Academics & Financial Institutions in Poland, South Korea, Indonesia, and China.

Coal power plants contribute the largest portion of greenhouse gas emissions globally and in Asia many are newly built, but the need to cut emissions make longer-term operation untenable. The ability to retain infrastructure such as turbines, grid connection, and its workforce, but without the fossil fuels, is a huge opportunity for the clean energy transition.

Professor Jeong Ik Lee of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology said:

“The South Korean government has announced an energy policy of relying less on coal and more on nuclear, and therefore this study is very timely to suggest a practical pathway to achieve the goal.”

Quantified Carbon founder, Dr Staffan Qvist, who began Repower with a study in Poland published in 2020 said:  

“This collaboration between Repower and KAIST focuses on one of the most highly leveraged interventions possible in the global energy system - the repowering of existing modern coal plant to replace the polluting fuel with clean alternatives.

“The practical insights generated will be crucial in shaping strategies and policies for repowering coal plants, making a tangible contribution to the tackling climate change.”


Albert Payaró-Llisterri, Repower Lead at QuantifiedCarbon

+46 72 365 72 18;  

Notes to Editors

  1. For further background on the Repower Initiative, visit and read Retrofit Decarbonization of Coal Power Plants—A Case Study for Poland and this introductory Twitter thread.

  1. Repower work on this topic originally focused on Poland and was funded in stages by the Environmental Defense Fund Europe, the Quadrature Climate Foundation and Founders Pledge, and has resulted in highly cited publications and the concept has since been picked up by a range of actors and included in the Polish Government’s energy strategy.

  1. QuantifiedCarbon [] is a technical consultancy agency, are the home of the Repower Coal project. Dr Staffan Qvist, the Founder and Director of QC, has published extensively on this topic and is a recognised thought leader in this space.  

  1. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is a national research university located in Daedeok Innopolis, Daejeon, South Korea. KAIST was established by the Korean government in 1971 as the nation's first public, research-oriented science and engineering institution. KAIST is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the nation.

  1. Jeong Ik Lee is currently a professor at the department of nuclear and quantum engineering, KAIST. His research is on the power cycle for advanced nuclear systems to make nuclear energy smaller, smarter, and safer. He became the elected member of Young Korea Academy of Science and Technology in 2022. He was also affiliated with the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2017 and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2022 as a visiting scholar.

  1. Yonghee Kim is currently a professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Korea. His research interests include advanced reactor concepts and development of nuclear reactor analysis methods. One of his major researches is the transmutation of nuclear wastes such as TRUs (Transuranics) and long-lived fission products in advanced nuclear reactor systems.  

  1. Man Sung Yim is a Donald E. Bentley and Agnes Muszynska Professor in the Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), where he has taught courses on nuclear risk management, nuclear energy policy, nuclear waste management, and radiation biology since 2011. Formerly a Fulbright grantee, he worked at Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute and served on the Nuclear Engineering faculty at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and MIT. He was also a joint faculty between Oak Ridge National Lab (Global Nuclear Security Technology Division) and NCSU, a Sam Nunn International Security Fellow at Georgia Tech. Upon return to South Korea in 2011, Prof. Yim founded NEREC (Nuclear Nonproliferation Education and Research Center) at KAIST to train future global leaders in nuclear nonproliferation.  
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