S. Korea to re-evaluate nuclear power policy

Published on 14 Sep 2017, 0:33
신고리 공론화 위원회, 10월20일까지 결론 낸다

Following through on President Moon Jae-in's bid to usher in a nuclear-free era,... construction of two new reactors in the southeast of the country has been temporarily halted.
However,... a special committee gathering public opinion on the move... is learning that not everyone's on the same page when it comes to phasing out nuclear power.
Our Kim Mok-yeon takes a closer look.
Less than three months ago, President Moon Jae-in announced his decision to re-evaluate the nation's nuclear power policy.

"We will move towards a nuclear-free era. With regards to Shin Kori 5 and 6, the government will comprehensively take into consideration safety, the progress rate, input costs, costs concerning the contract termination and the electric power reserve ratio and create a social consensus within a short period of time."

Following the government's decision to temporarily halt the construction of the Shin Kori 5 and 6 nuclear reactors in the country's southeast, public debate has been high on the issue.

(KOREAN ed: steve)
"The nuclear reactors in Korea are the best in the world in terms of safety. The new Shin Kori 5 and 6 reactors have already had their safety approved by the United States. During Korea's 40 years of nuclear power operations, nobody has died."

"We believe nuclear power plant is inherently dangerous as it was proven in Simao, Chernobyl and recently Fukushima. And we believe now the world has enough alternative ways to produce electricity in a much safer and cleaner way so it's time to gradually phase out nuclear."

With polarized opinions regarding nuclear power, the government launched a special committee in July to gather the public's voices regarding this issue.

(KOREAN ed: steve)
"So what we are doing is basically publicizing the issue, We gather the opinions of the public, give them the opportunity to study the facts on both sides, and allow them to engage in debates to come up with a clear decision. Their final decisions will be submitted to the government."

[STAND UP] ed: steve
"The special committee has held its first opinion poll, calling nearly 40,000 citizens aged 19 and above.
A total of 500 citizen representatives have been chosen to take part in making the final decision on whether to resume or stop the construction of the Shin Kori 5 and 6 nuclear reactors in Ulsan."

The head of the committee says that for the past two months, the public's concerns on nuclear power range from environmental issues to economical problems.

(KOREAN ed: steve)
"Many industries were able to develop in Korea because of its cheap energy from nuclear reactors. If energy prices go up, it will definitely affect the economy."

"In the last 5-10 years, the cost to produce electricity through renewables has been decreasing. Whereas the cost for producing electricity through nuclear has been increasing."

The committee is now in the process of gathering data comprehensively before reaching a conclusion.

(KOREAN ed: steve)
"We are creating a list of facts that back the assertions of both sides. We are also going through a fact checking process to verify their objectivity."

With the public differing in their opinions regarding this issue, the committee aims at smoothing the differences and providing an objective report.

(KOREAN ed: steve)
"We are trying to come up with countermeasures to lessen factors that could bring about more conflict. We ultimately aim for the two sides to narrow down their differences."

The committee is expected to disband on October 21st, a day after it submits its final recommendation to the government which could determine the fate of the two nuclear reactors.

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.

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