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Cablegate: Seoul Esth Update - October 2009

VZCZCXRO0650
RR RUEHVK
DE RUEHUL #1773/01 3100345
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060345Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6153
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 6947
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6884
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8197
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 7419
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 4036
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 5261
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1763
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 4207
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 9364
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RUCPDC/NOAA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA SCJS SEOUL KOR
RHMFIUU/CHJUSMAGK SEOUL KOR

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 SEOUL 001773

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES/IHB, OES/SAT, OES/PCI AND OES/EGC
STATE FOR EAP/K, ISN/NESS AND STAS
STATE PASS TO EPA FOR INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS
WHITE HOUSE FOR OSTP AND CEQ
DOE FOR INTERNATIONAL, NE, FE, AND EERE
USDOC FOR 4400/MAC/EAP/OPB/ITA/TA
USDOC FOR NIST
HHS FOR OGHA
HHS PASS TO NIH FOR FIC
STATE PASS TO NSF FOR INTL PROGRAMS
STATE PASS TO NRC FOR INTL PROGRAMS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EIND ENRG TBIO OEXC TRGY TSPA KGHG KFLU KS
SUBJECT: SEOUL ESTH UPDATE - OCTOBER 2009

In This Issue

-- Korea Ranks Ninth Largest CO2 Emitter
-- Korea Jumps into Carbon Capture
-- All Apartment Buildings to Be Built "Green"
-- Government Challenges Automakers to Produce Electric Cars
-- SK Energy Signs Hybrid Battery Deal with Daimler
-- South Jeolla Province to Build Massive Wind Power Complex
-- International Aeronautical Congress Focuses on Space Technology
for Sustainable Peace and Progress
-- NASA Administrator Advances U.S.-Korean Aerospace Cooperation
-- NASA Astronaut and Assistant Administrator for Education Reach
Out to Students
-- Mass Vaccinations Begin amid Full-Fledged H1N1 Epidemic

-----------
Environment
-----------

Korea Ranks Ninth Largest CO2 Emitter
-------------------------------------

1. (SBU) Korea is the ninth largest emitter of carbon dioxide gas in
the world, the government said on October 19, quoting a report using
2007 data by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The country
ranked as the tenth largest CO2 emitter in an earlier report using
2005 emissions data. Korea's CO2 emissions have increased 113
percent from 1990, the highest percentage growth rate among OECD
member countries over that time period. Total Korean CO2 emissions
in 2007 were 488.7 million tons, a 9.3 percent increase over the 448
million tons of CO2 emitted in 2005. On a per capita basis, CO2
emissions reached 10.1 tons in 2007, up from 9.3 tons per capita in
2005.

Korea Jumps into Carbon Capture
-------------------------------

2. (SBU) The government plans to invest 100 billion won (USD 86
million) over a 5-year period in pursuit of technology to help
capture and store carbon dioxide produced from factories and power
plants over the next five years, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy
announced on October 13. The investment is a significant increase
from current annual 14.5 billion won (USD 12.5 million) in public
spending for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The
government hopes to develop fundamental CCS technology for use at
smaller power plants producing about 10 megawatts of electricity by
2014 and plans to encourage a consortium of private companies to
develop CCS technology for larger power plants producing over 500
megawatts by 2015. The Ministry also announced that the Korea
Electric Power Corporation will also invest 1.4 trillion won (USD
1.2 billion) by 2020 for building new power plants that emit 90
percent less carbon dioxide than existing ones.

All Apartment Buildings to Be Built "Green"
-------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Every new apartment in Korea from now on must be built
"green," the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said
in an October 13 press statement. A revised Housing Act, which is
to take effect in late October, would require contractors building

SEOUL 00001773 002 OF 006


housing complexes of 20 units or more to make them "green homes."
The revision defines specific standards for the construction and was
developed by the government to help conserve energy and reduce
carbon emissions. An apartment is defined as green if it uses 15
percent or less energy, or leads to the emission of 15 percent or
less carbon dioxide equivalents, than a normal home. If the unit is
60 square meters or smaller, the threshold is reduced from 15 to 10
percent. The Ministry said the installation of energy-conserving
heating and electrical systems as well as the use of environmentally
friendly home appliances will count toward the carbon dioxide
calculations. Green home certification will take place in the
drafting phase before construction begins, but final appraisal is
subject to a post-construction inspection.

Government Challenges Automakers to
Produce Electric Cars
-----------------------------------

4. (SBU) During a recent economic meeting chaired by President Lee
Myung-bak, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy reported to the
President an outline to get domestic automakers to mass-produce
electric vehicles by 2011, two years ahead of the original plan.
Although details have not been made public, the government said it
will offer full support to the auto industry to speed up the mass
production of electric vehicles, such as financial support for
research and development including a 400 billion won (USD 340
million) investment over the next 5 years to support development of
high-performance batteries and other related systems According to a
domestic news article, the local auto industry is not in favor of
the plan because of the major production changes they would be
forced to introduce at short notice. Hyundai Motor Company said it
can meet the emission requirements of the United States, Europe and
other major markets by improving upon its existing gasoline and
diesel engines, by making lighter vehicles that burn less fuel, and
by producing hybrid electric vehicles.

5. (SBU) Separately, Hyundai Kia Automotive Group and the Korea
Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) signed an MOU to jointly develop
electric vehicles and battery chargers. Hyundai Kia said it plans
to have the electric vehicles ready for trial by August 2010 and to
begin commercial production by 2011. KEPCO will develop the battery
chargers by August 2010 for use with the new vehicle. Electric
vehicles in general are expected at first to cost three to four
times more than similar gasoline-powered cars largely due to the
cost of the battery. Experts predict, however, that advances in
research and economies of scale will bring down battery costs
dramatically over the next ten years.

SK Energy Signs Hybrid
Battery Deal with Daimler
-------------------------

6. (SBU) According to an October 25 local news report, the German
automotive group Daimler has selected the Korean company SK Energy
to supply it with lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles
produced by Daimler's Mitsubishi Fuso unit. The Japan-based
manufacturer, 85 percent owned by Daimler, has sold 190,000 hybrid
buses and trucks since 2007. The SK Energy deal is the latest in a
series of agreements between Korean lithium-ion battery makers and
major automobile manufacturers. LG Chem earlier this year signed a

SEOUL 00001773 003 OF 006


contract to supply lithium-ion batteries to Hyundai-Kia Automotive
Group and to the General Motors for its extended range electric
vehicle the Chevy Volt. Samsung SDI and the German auto parts
supplier Bosch established SB Limotive in August as a joint venture
specializing in batteries for electric cars. The company has
already won a contract to supply lithium-ion batteries for BMW
between 2013 and 2020.

South Jeolla Province to Build Massive
Wind Power Complex
--------------------------------------

7. (SBU) South Jeolla Province signed a contract with 26 companies
and financial institutions on October 15 to build a massive 5
gigawatt wind power complex along its southwestern coast and
adjacent islands and seawaters. The 26 firms, including wind power
businesses, machinery manufacturers, and financial companies, will
invest a total of 15.5 trillion won (USD 14 billion) over the next
20 years to build the complex. Separately, Hyundai Heavy Industries
(HHI) has begun production of wind turbine generators at its new
manufacturing facility, also located in South Jeolla Province, using
licensed designs for turbine generators from American Superconductor
Corporation through its Austrian subsidiary AMSC Windtec. HHI is
investing more than 880 billion won (USD 760 million) to develop the
facility.

--------------------
Science & Technology
--------------------

International Aeronautical Congress Focuses on Space Technology for
Sustainable Peace and Progress
--------------------------------------------- -------

8. (SBU) The 60th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), held
October 12-16 in Daejeon, drew some 3,000 people from 70 countries,
including representatives of global space agencies, aerospace
industry leaders, academics, experts and scientists to share
information for furthering the development of space technology for
sustainable peace and human progress. At the opening ceremony,
President Lee Myung-bak underscored the importance of international
collaboration in space research and development and said the Korean
government is considering participating in the U.S.-led
international lunar exploration program. "Many countries have
cooperated to carry out large-scale space projects such as the lunar
exploration program, and there have been attempts to address global
problems such as climate change and natural disasters by
collaboratively utilizing satellite information," Lee said. During
its exhibition held in tandem with the conference, the U.S. National
Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) displayed models of
lunar modules, a space rocket, and a 4.7 kilogram moon rock.

NASA Administrator Advances
U.S.-Korean Aerospace Cooperation
---------------------------------

9. (SBU) National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
Administrator Charles Bolden, Jr. said at the 60th International
Astronautical Congress in Daejeon that Korea has made noticeable
strides with its robust space program by building satellites and

SEOUL 00001773 004 OF 006


launching a space rocket. In meetings with the Ministry of
Education, Science and Technology (MEST) and with the Korea
Aerospace Research Institute, he said Korea has the potential to
become an important partner of the United States in its efforts
aimed at advancing exploration and technology for the peaceful use
of space. He said that future cooperative efforts could take place
in a wide range of promising areas such as lunar exploration,
satellites, space communications, aeronautics, earth science, as
well as science education. During Administrator Bolden's visit,
NASA and MEST initialed a "Joint Report on Potential Opportunities
for Enhanced Cooperation."

NASA Astronaut and Assistant Administrator
for Education Reach Out to Students
------------------------------------------

10. (SBU) In addition to participating in the IAC during their visit
to Korea, NASA Astronaut Janet Kavandi and NASA Assistant
Administrator for Education Joyce Winterton had a lively roundtable
discussion with leading female scientists in the field of astronomy
and spoke with groups of Korean students. Astronaut Kavandi spoke
to approximately 100 science students at the U.S. Embassy Public
Affairs Office on her experiences as an astronaut. Dr. Kavandi also
spoke at the Daejeon Christian International School and participated
in a number of public space education events in Daejeon. Assistant
Administrator Winterton spoke with teachers and students at Hanyang
University on "Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Challenges"
and met with science education policy makers and educators where
information was shared and exchanged on NASA science and math
education programs. She also traveled to Busan where she lectured
at the Busan Science High School. Her talk proved so popular that
the High School is sending approximately 90 students to the Goddard
Space Flight Center in November where NASA will host their visit and
tour.

------
Health
------

Mass Vaccinations Begin amid
Full-Fledged H1N1 Epidemic
----------------------------

11. (SBU) Approximately 60,000 newly confirmed H1N1 infections were
reported in Korea the week of October 25, bringing the country's
total cumulative case count since May to over 100,000. The total
number of H1N1-related deaths reached 45 as of November 4, which
still represents a low mortality rate. The Ministry of Health,
Welfare and Family Affairs began immunizing health care service
personnel on October 27, the first of several defined vulnerable
groups to be vaccinated in a program aimed at vaccinating 35 percent
of the population, or approximately 17 million people. School-aged
children are the next vulnerable group to begin free vaccinations
starting from November 11 until the end of December. The
vaccination of students is critical step in controlling the spread
of the disease since more than 75 percent of new cases in the month
of October were diagnosed in this group. As of November 2, more
than 500 elementary, middle or high schools (approximately ten
percent of the total number of schools in Korea) had temporarily
shut their doors. The vaccination program will continue with

SEOUL 00001773 005 OF 006


children over 6 months old and pregnant women receiving shots
between mid-December and early January at clinics or hospitals of
their choice, where each vaccination will cost 15,000-30,000 won
(USD 13-26). The last priority groups consist of the elderly,
chronically ill patients registered with the National Health
Insurance Corp, the police, and military personnel. They will begin
receiving vaccinations after January 1. Meanwhile, those not
included in a priority group can start getting shots by mid-January.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said
the vaccination program is being conducted in stages using vaccines
as soon as they are produced by domestic pharmaceutical company
Green Cross Corporation.

-------
Profile
-------

Korea Aerospace Research Institute
----------------------------------

12. (SBU) The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), located in
Daejeon, in central Korea, was founded in October 1989 and charged
with performing basic and applied research in aerospace technology
and carrying out the nation's aeronautics and space programs. KARI
operates the Naro Space Center, located on Oenaro Island on the
southwestern coast 485 kilometers south of Seoul. Opened in August
with final construction completed November 4, and built largely with
Russian technology, the Naro Center includes a launch pad and
landing field, a control tower, facilities for rocket and satellite
assembly and testing, a media center, and an electric power
station.

13. (SBU) KARI launched its first satellite, the Korea Multi-Purpose
Satellite (KOMPSAT-1), in 1999. It launched KOMPSAT-2 in 2006.
KARI is currently developing the Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite 3 and
5 (KOMPSAT-3 & 5). The goal of KOMPSAT-3, which is scheduled to be
launched in late 2011, is to provide continuous satellite earth
observation via high-resolution electro-optical images. It will be
equipped with a Multi-Spectral Camera, able to acquire 1 meter
resolution panchromatic images for surveillance of massive natural
disasters, utilization of mineral resources, construction of a
Geographic Information System, and cartography. KOMPSAT-5, slated
for launch in 2010, will use a synthetic aperture radar and operate
at an altitude of 685 km in a sun-synchronous orbit to execute all
day weather and earth observations of the Korean Peninsula for
environmental, agricultural and oceanographic monitoring
applications during its 5-year mission.

14. (SBU) KARI developed single-stage and two-stage scientific
sounding rockets in KARI developed single- and two-stage scientific
sounding rockets in 1993 and 1998 respectively. It is currently
implementing the Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV) Program,
consisting of two low-earth orbit launch vehicles -- KSLV-1 & 2. In
August this year, KARI launched KSLV-1 with a 100 kg scientific
satellite, but failed to place the satellite in its intended orbit.
KARI plans to attempt to launch the same model KSLV-1 again in May
2010. KSLV-2, which will carry a 1.5 ton payload, is scheduled for
launch in 2017. KARI is undertaking two other major aircraft R&D
programs -- the Korean Helicopter Development Program and the Smart
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Development Program. KARI also conducts

SEOUL 00001773 006 OF 006


research in several other aerospace and aeronautics fields such as
remote sensing, aerodynamics, navigation and control, and aerospace
safety.

STEPHENS

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