You are here

South Korea

In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Criticism South Korean UAE contract
A news program has belatedly exposed the fact that the South Korean government agreed to provide a loan covering approximately half the construction costs for the exportation of a nuclear power plant to the United Arab Emirates. While the government explained that this was part of ordinary power plant export financing, controversy has been flaring up as this revelation couples with previous controversies over inflation of the order amount and the deployment of troops to the UAE as a condition for receiving the order. A Jan. 30 episode of the MBC program 'News Magazine 2580' revealed that in the process of signing a contract with the UAE for the power plant export in December 2009, the South Korean government agreed to provide a loan for approximately US$10 billion (7.25 billion euro) of the total order amount of US$18.6 billion through Korea Eximbank. In addition, the program reported that the repayment period was set at 28 years, and that the transaction generates a loss due to the fact that South Korea, which has a lower credit rating than the UAE, has to borrow the money at high interest rates and lend it at low interest rates. The program also reported that the construction has encountered setbacks, including a delay in the groundbreaking ceremony from its originally scheduled date in late 2010, as the Korean government has encountered difficulties coming up with the promised US$10 billion loan.

Hankyoreh, South Korea, 1 February 2011

the 1st International Uranium Film Festival is Latin America´s first film festival to highlight nuclear and radioactive issues. It is an annual event with 2 international competitions.

The Uranium Film Festival wants to inform especially the Brazilian and Latin American societies and stimulate the production of independent documentaries and movies about the whole nuclear fuel cycle, about the dangers of radioactivity and especially about the environmental and health risks of uranium exploration, mining and processing. The Uranium Film Festival will be held from May 21th to 28th 2011 in the city of Rio de Janeiro and from June 2nd to 9th in the city of São Paulo

The first 18 films have been selected: look for the list at:

Germany: Complaints against runtime extensions to Constitutional Court.

In cooperation with citizens living close to Germany's seven oldest nuclear powerplants, Greenpeace has submitted a complaint to Germany's Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht). While Greenpeace Germany generally argues that the runtime extensions endanger each citizen's right of being protected against bodily harm, the new constitutional complaint is specifically directed at the latest Nuclear Energy Law's paragraph 7d. The new §7d tells reactor operators, in rather poetic language, to reduce risks threatening "the population". This is, according to Greenpeace's law experts, a significant point. It means that individual citizens who have lately filed complaints (with support from Greenpeace) against the extension of the licenses for reactors in their neighborhood will be denied the right of action. In other words, the old Nuclear Law was designed to protect citizens and gave them the right to complain in local courts against the risks caused by the local polluter, and the new law withdraws this right.

Parallel to Greenpeace's action, two other complaints against the new Nuclear Law

will be filed at the Constitutional Court later this year. One is by a number of states of the German federation and the other is by groups of members of the federal parliament.

Greenpeace press release (in German), 3 February 2011

Norway: severe consequences of Sellafield accident.
An accident at the high-activity liquor storage at Sellafield would have severe consequences for Norway's wildlife, agricultural industry and environment. The Norwegian Radiological Protection Authority has published a second report on the consequences of a accident that releases just one per cent of the high-level liquid waste at Sellafield. This report looks at the consequences to the environment and animals, while the first report considered the fallout likely from a similar accident. The report use the typical weather experienced in October 2008 and only considers the release of caesium-137. An actual accident would release other radionuclides, particularly strontium.

It is estimated the amount of caesium-137 deposited on Norway would be about seven times that from Chernobyl. Direct costs from Chernobyl on agriculture and reindeer in Norway have been over 665 million kroner (US$118 million; 86 million euro) and there are still annual costs of 15 million kroner. Up to 80 per cent of all lambs in Norway would be expected to have excess radiation levels and restrictions apply for decades. The report is available at

N-Base Briefing 681, 25 January 2011

Canada: White Elephant 'Pointless Lepreau' reappears in New Brunswick.
The Point Lepreau nuclear generating station provides the quintessential definition of a white elephant. The aging nuclear plant opened its doors three times over budget in 1983. The Energy and Utilities Board refused to support spending on refurbishing it beyond its expected lifetime, but politicians went ahead anyway. Today, costs for the touch-and-go overhaul are already over Cdn$1.4 billion (1.4 bn US$, 1 bn Euro). The latest guess at a completion date is May 2012, a delay of almost three years. Damage to public and worker health and the environment have yet to be calculated and the final costs for taxpayers may not end for generations.

An alliance of public interest groups in New Brunswick, known as the Point Lepreau Decommissioning Caucus, is spreading a simple, but powerful message: Point Lepreau is a white elephant, we don't need it. Pointless Lepreau is old, sickly and on its last legs: Do Not Resuscitate. To underline the foolishness of refurbishing Lepreau, the groups are holding surprise events featuring their newest member, an actual white elephant costume aptly named Pointless Lepreau.

Press release, 19 January 2011

When the dust settles.
The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) and IKV Pax Christi have been working on a joint project to create an animated short film on the hazards of depleted uranium and the international campaign against its use and are happy to announce that the English language version has now been completed. We have sought to render down a complex issue into six and a half minutes and at present the animation is available in English and Dutch, we hope that additional languages will be available in future.

Both versions are available from our Youtube channels at the links below. ICBUW can also provide copies for use at events and to help support your national campaigns.

English version:

UK Gov't sending papers down the memory-hole. The UK government and its agencies like the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA; successor to Nirex) are trying to airbrush out the history of the attempt to find a nuclear waste repository in West Cumbria. Documents and scientific papers which were formerly available on their websites have been removed; the Nirex documents have been transferred to the safe keeping of the British Geological Survey, where they may be 'consulted' at Keyworth, Nottinghamshire. But nothing remains online, not even an index of the documents and reports. Now, David Smythe has re-scanned much of the material and collected links of other parts.

Sellafield (West-Cumbria) was disqualified for several reasons, but now NDA and government is looking again at that region for final disposal.

Papers are available at:

Monju: accident delays startup with 3 more years. The task of removing a device that accidentally fell into the prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju in August will delay its full startup about a year to 2014 or later.
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, the operator of the 280 MW Monju reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, is expected to remove the device next summer or later and then conduct checkups, delaying the test operation initially scheduled to start next spring and subsequent full-fledged run. Removing the 3.3-ton device, which was used for fuel exchange before it fell into the reactor vessel in the Aug. 26 accident, requires special equipment, approval from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and a followup inspection.
Monju resumed operations with limited power output in May 2010 after 14 years and five months(!) of suspension due to a sodium coolant leak and a resultant fire and coverup attempt in 1995.
Kyodo, 17 December 2010

Extended operation for Paducah enrichment plant? US uranium enrichment company USEC said that it is working to extend the operation of its Paducah plant in Kentucky beyond May 2012, when the old and inefficient gaseous diffusion plant had been expected to shut down. The company said that it will "base its decision to extend operations upon economic considerations and the ability of the plant to operate profitably." The Paducah plant – currently the only operating uranium enrichment facility in the USA - is set to be replaced by USEC's planned American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) project in Piketon, Ohio.

The full ACP plant was originally expected to commence commercial operation in early 2010 and achieve full annual capacity at the end of 2012. However, early in 2009 the whole project was slowed pending funding through the Department of Energy (DoE) loan guarantee program, and in July 2009 it was suspended due to the DoE refusing to award a US$2 billion (1.5 billion euro) loan guarantee, and asking USEC to withdraw its application. USEC refused to do this, and in July 2010, it submitted an updated loan guarantee application to the DoE. In October 2010, DoE informed USEC that it has largely completed its initial technical review of USEC's application and is proceeding to the next stage of the loan guarantee process.

Although USEC earlier secured investment of U$200 million from Toshiba and Babcock & Wilcox to support the ACP, the company maintains that additional financing is needed to complete plant construction.

World Nuclear News, 12 January 2011

Italy: referendum on relaunching nuclear power.
Italy's constitutional court ruled on January 12, a national referendum could be held against the construction of nuclear power plants, dealing a potential blow to government plans to relaunch the sector. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wants nuclear plants to generate a quarter of the country's electricity in the future. The court allowed a request by opposition politician Antonio Di Pietro for a referendum, which will take place between on a Sunday between April 15 and June 15.

Antonio Di Pietro is leader of Italia dei Valori (Italy of Values) a centrist political party and an outspoken opponent of nuclear power. An April 2010 petition by the party successfully gathered the 500,000 signatures of Italian voters needed for the referendum to proceed through the Italian legislative system. This was presented to the Constitutional Court for it's final ruling on the admissibility of the proposed referendum.

Public opinion in Italy has been generally hostile to nuclear energy, and a 1987 referendum following the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986 closed all plants and phased out production.

Reuters, 12 January 2011, Rete Nazionale Antinucleare (RNA) International, 13 January 2011

EU agreement on ITER cost overruns

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
WISE Amsterdam

Four years ago, the EU, Russia, China, India, Japan, Korea and the US picked Cadarache in the south of France as the location for the experimental nuclear fusion reactor, Iter. But since the science of how to achieve this type of fusion hasn't been settled (to put it mildly), the plans for the Iter project have been the subject of several revisions in recent years, each one leading to an increased price tag. Even opponents from within the scientific world are becoming more vocal to end the project.

Delegates at an extraordinary meeting of the Iter Council on July 28 also agreed a timeline that would see the first plasma experiments in 2019, with a fusion reactor generating significantly more power than it consumed (for a few minutes) by March 2027. But the Iter organisation was encouraged to explore ways to bring this deuterium-tritium operation forward to 2026. After research and development at Iter it should be possible to build a demonstration fusion power plant around 2030.

Coupled with the increases in costs for raw materials like steel and cement, the budget for the project has spiralled from around 5 billion euros to about 16 billion euros.

Delegates agreed that the overall costs of the project will be almost US$21 billion (16 billion euros), some three times the original price. Europe is paying 45% of the construction costs, while the other participants (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the USA) are paying 9% each.

Additional construction funds will have to come from within the EU's budget. The extra 1.4 billion euros will cover a shortfall in building costs in 2012-13. The EU has agreed to meet a critical short term shortfall of those 1.4 billion euros by using money that has been allocated to other research programmes. But the EU has said it will cap its overall contribution to Iter at 6.6 billion euros, leaving the fusion project to find cuts in costs of around 600 million euros.

In Europe, some scientists are unhappy with the EU proposal to take funds from unspent budgets to bail Iter out. In France, a group of physicists - including Nobel prize winner Georges Charpak - have written a letter to the press calling Iter a catastrophe and arguing that it should be shut down. They suggest that making up the shortfall in Iter's budget is costing France alone the equivalent of 20 years investment in physics and biology. According to one of the signatories, Professor Jacques Treiner from Paris University, it was time to call a halt to Iter before any more money was spent. "At a certain point especially when they say they will take money from other fields to fund this one you have to say, really a clear answer and the answer is no, don't do that."

More on the technical problems of  nuclear fusion: Fusion Illusions, Nuclear Monitor 698, 27 November 2009

Sources: BBC, 28 July 2010 / World Nuclear News, 29 July 2010


In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Utility tries to 'block' sun in Hawaii.

In a popular Simpsons episode, the diabolical Mr. Burns builds a giant disc to eclipse the sun and force Springfield's residents into round-the-clock reliance on electricity from his nuclear power plant. It's pitch-perfect cartoon sarcasm, but with a foot firmly in reality: the fledgling U.S. solar industry faces an array of Burnsian obstacles to its growth across the country.

In Hawaii, for example, the state's largest utility Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) is making a blatant effort to block homes and businesses from installing rooftop solar panels, a move that could strangle Hawaii's burgeoning homegrown solar industry, prevent residents and businesses from saving money, and keep the state addicted to imported oil. If there is anywhere that should be blazing the trail to a clean energy future, it is Hawaii. The islands are blessed with abundant sun, winds, and waves, yet today rely on imported fossil fuels for more than 96 percent of their energy. Hawaii consumers pay the highest electric rates in the nation. The state is trying to chart a new course, but the utility is resisting change and fighting to limit solar access to the local grid.

In so doing, HECO is holding back much more than just Hawaii. It is hindering an important experiment with solar energy that could provide valuable information to consumers, entrepreneurs, utility owners and policymakers throughout the U.S., because the program Hawaii is considering is the feed-in-tariff., 18 March 2010

German minister lifts 10-year ban on Gorleben.

The political and technical battle over the fate of Germany’s repository for high-level nuclear waste accelerated, as German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen announced he was lifting the 10-year moratorium on investigation of the Gorleben salt dome in Lower Saxony. The moratorium was declared in 2000 as part of the nuclear phase-out agreement between the nuclear industry and the then Socialist-Green government. On March 15, Roettgen promised "an open decision-making process and a safety analysis that would be subjected to international peer review". The Gorleben opponents allege that the government plans to privatize nuclear waste storage. "If these plans are implemented, those producing the waste would also be in charge of determining its ultimate repository,” the opponents argue.
Gorleben has been under consideration for the disposal of high- and intermediate-level waste and spent fuel since 1977, when it was selected by the Lower Saxony government as the only candidate for investigation, in a process that is still criticized for eliminating alternative sites too early. A total of about 1.5 billion Euro (US$2 billion) was spent on the site investigation between 1977 and 2007. Opponents have just presented to the media a CD compilation of leaked government documents from the 1970s and 1980s showing that expert studies showing Gorleben to be unsuitable were simply ignored.

First spontaneous protests about the resumption of work have taken place in Gorleben.
Immediately after the announcement of lifting the moratorium, some 300 people demonstrated and were forcibly evicted by the police using pepper spray. At the same day some 5.000 people demonstrated at the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant in southern-germany against possible life-time extension. It was the biggest demonstration at the plant in over 20 years. The national anti-nuclear power movement is gearing up for Chernobyl day, when demonstrations in Biblis (southern Germany), Ahaus (middle Germany) and a 120 km (!) human chain in northern Germany will take place to show massive popular resistance against nuclear power.

Nuclear Fuel, 22 March 2010 /

Sellafield: Radioactive birds.

Seagull eggs at Sellafield (U.K.) are being destroyed in an attempt to control bird numbers because of fears they might spread contamination after landing and swimming in open nuclear waste ponds. Sellafield said the pricking of eggs was reducing gull numbers around the site and stressed there was no public health concerns. However Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) said the gulls could fly well away from the site and spread contamination. In 1998 there was a cull of pigeons because they landed on buildings around Sellafield and spread contamination off-site. One garden in Seascale had its soil declared as low level waste because of the problem.

N-Base Briefing 644, 11 March 2010

S-Korea to build nuclear reactor in Turkey? 

On March 10, an agreement was reached between Turkey's state power company Elektrik Uretim (EUAS) and Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), a state-controlled utility, on technical studies for the construction of a nuclear power plant to be built in Sinop, on Turkish northern coast of Black Sea. The South Korean company had earlier said it was in talks with Turkey to sell APR1400 (Advanced Power Reactor 1400), pressurized water reactor. Turkey, again, plans to build two nuclear power plants, one in Sinop on the northern coast of Black Sea and the other in Mersin on the southern coast. Construction of nuclear infrastructure could start in the short-term, said South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Young Hak Kim, speaking at a Turkish-South Korean business conference in Istanbul.

Turkey has long been eager to build nuclear power plants. A Turkish-Russian consortium led by Russia's Atomstroyexport had been the only bidder in a 2008 tender to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Mersin. However, Turkey's state-run electricity wholesaler TETAS canceled the tender following a court decision in November 2009. (See Nuclear Monitor 698, 27 November 2009: "Another setback on Turkey's nuclear dream"). Turkey has cancelled four previous attempts to build a nuclear plant, beginning in the late 1960s, due to the high cost and environmental concerns.

Xinhua, 10 March 2010 / Reuters, 10 March 2010

RWE: U.K. hung parliament danger for new reactors.

RWE chief executive designate Volker Beckers has warned that a hung Westminster parliament following the forthcoming election could threaten the prospects of new reactors being built in the UK. He said a hung parliament might make it inconceivable that utility companies would invest the huge sums needed to build the reactors. The Liberal Democrats opposed any new reactors and they might be involved in a new government, he said.

A 'hung parliament' is one in which no one political party has an outright majority of seats. This situation is normal in many legislatures with proportional representation, or in legislatures with strong regional parties; in such legislatures the term 'hung parliament' is rarely used. However in nations in which single member districts are used to elect parliament, and there are weak regional parties, such as the United Kingdom, a hung parliament is a rarity, as in these circumstances one party will usually hold enough seats to form a majority. A hung parliament will force either a coalition government, a minority government or a dissolution of parliament.

N-Base briefing 645, 17 March 2010

Announcement: Anti Nuclear European Forum (ANEF) on June 24, in Linz, Austria.

ANEF was established 2009 as counter-event to ENEF (European Energy Forum) since ENEF failed to fulfill ENEF´s official objectives and was/is used one-sided as a propaganda instrument for the promotion of nuclear power instead. Within ANEF negative aspects of nuclear energy will be discussed on an international level. ANEF is organized by the Antinuclear Representative of Upper Austria in cooperation with “Antiatom Szene” and “Anti Atom Komitee”. The participation of international NGOs is very important because it needs a strong signal against the nuclear renaissance.

The organizers would like to warmly invite you to participate in ANEF. Please let us know as soon as possible if you, or someone else from your organization, is considering to participate in ANEF by sending an informal email to The detailed program will be available soon and will be send to you upon request. Accommodation will be arranged for you. Further information on ANEF is published on

Learn about ANEF-Resolution here: 

Pakistan: US-India deal forces it to keep making weapons material.

Pakistan cannot participate in global negotiations to halt the production of high-enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons because the US-India nuclear cooperation agreement has tilted the regional strategic balance in India’s favour, a leading Pakistani nuclear diplomat said February 18. Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva said that under the US-India deal on nuclear cooperation, India may now import uranium under IAEA safeguards for its civilian power reactors. Because of that, India can devote its domestic uranium resources to production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, he said.

Last year, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, NSG, representing 45 members of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, NPT, agreed to lift nuclear trade sanctions against India, a non-NPT party. That action permitted the US-India deal to enter into force. In coming months, the US-India deal will most likely cause friction at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Every five years, the NPT’s 189 parties hold such a review conference. The 2005 event was bbitter and sharp in language and tone and resulted in no consensus conclusion between developing nations and advanced nuclear countries. How to deal with Israel and Pakistan (non-NPT-parties) in the wake of the US-India deal now deeply divides non-proliferation and disarmament advocates.

Nucleonics Week, 25 February 2010

U.K.: Camp against nuclear rebuild.

From 23 to 26 April 2010 at the Sizewell nuclear power stations, Suffolk. The U.K. government is planning to go ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations. Not only is this a totally daft idea with heavy consequences, but it also diverting attention and investment way from the real solutions to climate chaos. Come and join us for a weekend of protest, networking and skill sharing. The camp will be held very near the existing power stations and the weekend will include a tour of the proposed site for Sizewell C and D reactors and anything else you would like to add.

For many more actions on Chernobyl day visit:

Japanese islanders oppose nuke plant construction.

On Tuesday March 23 opponents of the construction of a nuclear power plant on an island in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, forced Chugoku Electric Power Corporation to cancel an explanatory meeting. More than 100 residents of Iwaishima island refused to allow officials of the company to disembark after they arrived by boat at the harbor. Kaminoseki's jurisdiction includes several islands. The proposed construction will take place on the island Iwaishima.

The company has held 15 meetings in other areas under the Kaminoseki town jurisdiction after applying for construction approval in December. The Tuesday meeting was to be the first for Iwaishima island residents, many of whom are opposed to the plan first proposed in 1982. Chugoku Electric officials said they will try again.

The Asahi Shimbun, 24 March 2010


Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Since a Korean consortium led by the state-run KEPCO won a US$20 billion nuclear power plant project in the United Arab Emirates late last year, much is being talked about the country emerging as a global leader in the peaceful use of nuclear power.

WISE Amsterdam - South-Korea’s administration led by Lee Myung-bak plans to turn Korea into a new export powerhouse of nuclear power plants by building 80 nuclear reactors worth US$400 billion around the world over the next 20 years. But discussion in the country is heating about “restoration of its right to reprocess spent fuel,” as the Korean Herald described it in an editorial in its January 15 issue.

So, attention is directed to the 1973 Korea-U.S. Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement which provides various restrictions on Korea's handling of nuclear materials, requiring prior U.S. consent to the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel. The bilateral agreement expires in March 2014 and the two countries have to negotiate a replacement agreement. Late January the two countries will meet to hold behind-the-scenes discussions about the issue.

“Korea has pressing needs to change the pact to a less restrictive one so it could engage freely in the global (peaceful) nuclear power market”, according to another editorial in the country’s English Daily. Reprocessing is said to be important too, to “resolve the growing amount of spent fuel by reprocessing it on its own.” When nuclear proponents talk about solving the waste problem, they usually mean postponing (the need for) a disposal solution.

As of the end of 2009, about 10,800 tons of spent fuel is stored in temporary pools at nuclear power plants and with the addition of some 700 tons each year from 20 reactors these pools will be full by 2016.  In order to dispose of the large volume of spent fuel from the existing reactors and those to be built in the future, Korea will need a storage site 30 to 40 times larger than the low-level waste storage site near Gyeongju that the government secured through so many difficulties at so much cost.

Given the U.S. proliferation concerns on the Korean Peninsula heightened by North Korea's nuclear arms program, getting a more ‘liberal” nuclear cooperation agreement ratified by U.S Congress will be sensitive. Sending the waste to European reprocessing plants (in La Hague or Sellafield) would be another ‘solution’ but really not favoured by the South Korean who wish to obtain  "Nuclear sovereignty".

Representatives of the two countries will meet also at the second preparatory meeting on Febr. 9 in The Netherlands for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April.  US president Barack Obama has announced his intention to host an international  Nuclear Security Summit last year. After almost a decade (since 9/11) fighting nuclear terrorism, characterised by at hoc initiatives aimed at curbing the illegal trafficking of nuclear related material, the new US administration seems to be eager to work in order to coordinate the different  bilateral and multilateral programs and achieve some sort of institutionalization of the different initiatives. The Nuclear Security Summit might be the first building block of a new international nuclear proliferation regime but in order to reach a successful conclusion the US government will have to weigh the advantages of institutionalization against the need for flexibility and wider participation. In May the (5 yearly) review conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty takes place in New York.

South Koreas nuclear sovereignty #1

In 2004  South Korea admitted that it had an AVLIS (Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation) enrichment program from 1991 to 2000, and that it had also extracted  plutonium in 1982 and had declared neither activity to the IAEA. Following Seoul's disclosure, the IAEA launched a full investigation into South Korea's nuclear activities. In a report issued on November 11, 2004, the IAEA described the South Korean government's failure to report its nuclear activities a matter of 'serious concern'. The Board of Governors decided to not make a formal finding of noncompliance, and the matter was not referred to the Security Council. This although the country did not have a very good proliferation track record.

It was commonly known that from 1968 to 1975 South Korea attempted to obtain both a plant to reprocess plutonium from spent fuel (the 'reprocessing plant') and intermediate-range missile delivery systems. After 1971, an organized South Korean effort to develop a  bomb was orchestrated by the Weapons Exploitation Committee with presidential-level backing. After pressure by the US and the threat to rupture the US-South Korean alliance the country terminated (alledgedly) its nuclear wepaons program in 1975; in April 1975 South Korea signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a few months later in November a full-scope safeguard agreement.

But in the early 1980's specialists were aware that KAERI (Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute) was conducting reprocessing experiments.  In 1984 the US halted a Canadian transfer of mixed oxide fuel-related reprocessing technology to South Korea. Certainly after the military dictatorship was overthrown in 1987, there were many voices that the country should obtain its own nuclear weapons.

Sources: Korean Herald, 15 & 20 January 2010 / The Korea Times, 24 January 2010 / ISPI Policy Brief: "Obama's 2010 Nuclear Security Summit and the International Non-proliferation Regime", October 2009 / Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists, Jan/Febr. 2005

Korean research reactor for The Netherlands?

South Korea is not only planning to become a dominant factor on the nuclear power reactor market, but also on the research reactor market. Korea won the contract for a nuclear research reactor from Jordan in December. The Korean consortium (KAERI, Korean Power Engineering Co and Dosan Heavy Indsutries & Construction) is planning to bid again in case The Netherlands conducts another international tender for the construction of a 80 MW(t) research reactor to replace the High Flux Reactor in Petten. The Netherlands (NRG, the operator), selected Argentina's INAVP in June last year as the priority partner, but on January 15, according to KAERI the negotations with INVAP where called off. KAERI said that "The Netherlands is likely to conduct another international tender in the second half of this year". As it wins the contract, Korea is expected to dethrone Argentina as the world leader in nuclear research reactors. NRG is not willing to comment in this stage, a press release will follow (but after the deadline for the Nuclear monitor)

Source: The Dong-A Ilbo, 26 January 2010



Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

The United Arab Emirates dropped a bomb in the nuclear energy world by choosing South-Korean nuclear technology over western reactors. Market analysts and company strategists need to swiftly adapt to a new nuclear market outlook. Following this serious setback, the French nuclear giant AREVA now considers to sell generation-two reactors to countries that are new to nuclear power, even though safety standards in Western countries would not allow these old designs to be built.

Greenpeace International - The US$20 billion (14.2 billion Euro) tender for four reactors in UAE was highly contested, with GE/Hitachi and a French consortium of AREVA, GDF Suez, Total and EDF competing with the South-Koreans to build the first Arab nuclear power reactor. The South-Korean reactors were selected over France’s nuclear flagship the EPR (European Pressurized-water Reactor), and AREVA is now picking up the pieces after this rather humiliating defeat in Abu Dhabi.

Though the low costs of the South-Korean reactors are generally thought to be the main driver behind UAE’s choice, other factors have played a significant role. Serious delays and cost overruns at the first EPR under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland, have shed doubts on AREVA’s ability to live up to its promises. Also the more and more public row between AREVA and EDF, the other French nuclear company, has not helped in securing the billion dollar bid in UAE. EDF was requested to join the EPR consortium that ran in the UAE tender, but was, according to AREVA CEO Anne Lauvergeon, too late in responding. The nuclear power struggle between the French giants has since deepened, the companies disputing uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel processing. See box at end of this article

The South-Korean government and KEPCO, the company leading the consortium in the UAE bid, seemed to relish in the unexpected triumph. The first nuclear power plant in the Arab Gulf will be the first nuclear reactor exported from South-Korea. The South Korean government immediately fantasizes of expanding its nuclear industry, targeting a 20 percent share of the global nuclear reactor market by 2030 through exports of 80 nuclear reactors. The KEPCO reactor is an updated second-generation 1,400 MW light water reactor APR-1400 (Advanced Pressurised Reactor), of which the first two are currently under construction in its home country.

The UAE decision sparked an internal review of AREVA’s product range. The company considers reintroducing second-generation 1,000 MW reactors for client countries that are new to nuclear power. These reactors will be cheaper and less sophisticated than the third-generation EPR reactor that has been marketed aggressively by France all over the world.

According to a senior AREVA executive, ‘safety standards in the US and Europe would not allow a second-generation reactor to be build’. However, this does not stop France to consider selling the older, simpler designs to countries without any previous nuclear experience. The French president Sarkozy even endorses the need to broaden the array of nuclear offerings in order to prevent further failures to win deals: "There is no doubt that we need to restructure the sector and there is no doubt that we need to raise the issue of coming up with a broader set of offers."  AREVA estimates that 20 per cent of the global market could be open to second-generation reactors. Rumors suggest EDF may take the lead in selling these reactors in markets new to nuclear energy.

Sources: Financial Times, 14 & 19 January 2010 / The Times, 18 January 2010 / Nuclear News Flashes 13 January 2010 / Reuters, 22 January 2010 / Greenpeace Nuclear Reactor weblog 7 December 2009.

Contact: Rianne Teule,  Nuclear campaigner Greenpeace International. 

Nuclear turbulence.

The sibling rivalry between the French nuclear giants AREVA and EDF has become a public fight, with the French prime minister Fillon acting as referee. The ego’s of the companies’ CEO’s, Anne Lauvergeon for AREVA and Henry Proglio for EDF, seem too big for one room, and media jump eagerly on each blaming the other for failing to keep promises and responsibilities. The pot calling the kettle black..…

AREVA blames EDF for signing a contract for enrichment services with the Russian company Tenex. EDF seeks to diversify its supplies of nuclear fuel from non-French enrichment suppliers like the Anglo-German-Dutch Urenco and Tenex, instead of continuing to take uranium from the French enrichment facility Eurodif. Eurodif still uses gas diffusion technology, while the new Georges Besse II centrifuge enrichment plant is planned to be fully operational only in 2012. Unless EDF agrees to buy services from the Eurodif diffusion plant after 2009, AREVA could be forced to cancel the scheduled initial production in the new Georges Besse II plant. Though this might be an empty threat, it is clear that AREVA needs EDF to buy enrichment services in order to make a smooth transfer from gas diffusion to the new centrifuge plant. A committee of AREVA officials have denounced EDF’s uranium contracts with the Russians as ‘non-patriotic’ and ‘anti-European’.

On top of that, in the beginning of January 2010 AREVA has stopped removing spent nuclear fuel from reactors for reprocessing at the facility in La Hague, Normandy. EDF and AREVA have not been able to agree on a new contract to continue reprocessing of spent fuel from EDF’s nuclear power plants. The new reprocessing contracts have been disputed for many months without any progress. The previous contract to reprocess spent nuclear fuel at La Hague, which expired in 2008, was worth 800 million Euro (US$1.15 billion) per year. At the end of 2008, the companies agreed on a framework for contracts for the 2008-40 period, but since mid-2009 have not been able to settle disagreements over prices and volumes.

The French nuclear row plays in a setting in which the whole nuclear sector in France is challenged on its transparency on nuclear waste issues. The documentary 'Waste, the nuclear nightmare', aired in October 2009, has sparked a national debate on nuclear waste in France. The High Committee for Transparency and Information on Nuclear Safety (HCTISN) conducts a full inventory of France’s nuclear waste products and transports. Greenpeace has blocked uranium transports to Russia several times, calling for a moratorium on the waste transports to Russia.



Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Non-proven Korean reactors for Middle-East.

A South Korean consortium has beaten French, US and Japanese competition and won a US$20.4 billion contract for developing a civilian nuclear program for the United Arab Emirates. Lead by KEPCO the groups also includes companies as Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Samsung and Doosan Heavy Industries. Korea Nuclear Fuel Co, or KNF, will provide the nuclear fuel while Korea Plant Service and Engineering Co (KPS) will be involved in plant maintenance. Non-Korean companies involved in the Kepco team include Westinghouse of the US and Toshiba of Japan. Kepco is owned by the South Korean government and is the world’s third largest nuclear energy businesses. The other bidders in the year-long process included a consortium of French companies – Areva, Total and GDF Suez – by many seen as the most likely winner of the tender - and a third consortium of US and Japanese companies, including General Electric and Hitachi. Loss of the nuclear reactor contract is a major blow to especially the French nuclear industry. French President Sarkozy has extensively been traveling the Middle East , including the UAE in an attempt to bring new orders back home to the state-owned Areva.

The UAE is hoping to become the first Arab Gulf state to develop a civilian nuclear program and the contract involves the design and construction of four 1,400 megawatt units of the APR1400-type, Generation III units. Design was developed by the Korean nuclear industry under the leadership of Kepco over a period of 10 years beginning 1992. The first of the APR1,400 units, Shin-Kori units 3 and 4, are now under construction, having obtained a construction permit from the Korean regulatory authority. Shin-Kori unit 3 is scheduled to be connected to Korea’s grid by 2013. According to the UAE nuclear safety regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), Kepco will construct plants that are essentially the same as the “reference plants,” but supplemented with changes required to adapt to UAE climactic conditions and any specific requirements of the UAE.

The UAE hopes the first of its nuclear units will begin producing electricity to its grid in 2017, with the other three being completed in 2020. In spite of being the world’s third largest oil exporter and home to the world’s fifth largest proven natural gas reserves, the UAE is already a net importer of gas to fuel industries and power stations. Demand for electricity in the UAE is currently about 15 GWe, but is projected to nearly triple in just 12 years. Natural gas is the fuel of choice for peak power and half of base load demand in the UAE. Oil provides the rest. No coal is burned in the UAE for electricity. The heart of the UAE base load energy plan is to swap out the natural gas plants for nuclear energy to power water desalinization and electricity for household and industrial use.

Sources: / Financial Times, 27 December 2009 / Khaleej Times, 28 December 2009

England: Tories: We will not build nuclear power stations if elected.

Political Parties not in the government have to speak out against the ruling parties to show they are in opposition. Sometimes that mechanism has strange consequences. The English Conservative Party is a well known proponent of nuclear power. But since the ruling Labour Party shows some dedication to build nuclear reactors, the Tories, changed position. Well, it seems… Early December, the green adviser of Tory leader David Cameron has thrown more doubt on where the party stands over nuclear power after declaring no new stations would be built under a Tory government. Zac Goldsmith, one of Mr Cameron’s closest advisers on the environment, insisted no new nuclear power stations would be built if the Conservatives were to win the next general election. He said Tory policy “was to give a green light to nuclear power as long as there is no call on the taxpayer, not just in terms of building, but maintenance, security and disposal of waste." His next sentence was a very surprising one: "In the history of nuclear power there has never been a station built without huge use of taxpayers’ subsidy.”

Jamie Reed, Labour member of parliament for Copeland (Cunbria) reacted: “This is not a policy, it is ignorant, confused nonsense and is in effect an anti-nuclear policy. David Cameron is all over the place on nuclear. He has stated that it is a “last resort”. And concluding: "With others I have worked hard to build a cross party consensus and I am saddened by the fact that David Cameron and Zac Goldsmith remain anti nuclear." Well, that has to be seen, but let's hope that is still the case when they win the next elections.

Source: North West Evening Mail (UK), 2 December 2009

Areva confirms Greenpeace’s alarming radiation findings in Niger.

Following Greenpeace’s report of radioactive hotspots in the uranium mining city Akokan in Niger, Areva has confirmed that the radioactivity in the streets of Akokan was unacceptably high. Under pressure from civil society the French nuclear company has taken action to clean up the spots indicated by Greenpeace. “Areva’s reaction supports our call for a comprehensive, transparent and independent environmental assessment of the area,” said Dr. Rianne Teule of Greenpeace International. “We are glad that the streets of Akokan have been partly cleaned up, but remain very concerned that  other problems cannot be ruled out without a comprehensive study. Decades of uranium mining have created radioactive dangers to the people of Akokan, a typical example of environmental and health threats posed by the nuclear industry.”

A Greenpeace team visited Areva’s two uranium mines in Niger at the beginning of November 2009. During this visit Greenpeace identified dangerous levels of radiation in the streets of Akokan, at one location up to 500 times higher than the normal background levels. Areva had earlier declared the streets safe. A comprehensive report on Greenpeace’s findings will be published in early 2010.

Source: Greenpeace International Press release, 5 January 2010

Preparations for first ever High Level Waste shipment from Sellafield.

More than ten years later than originally scheduled, the first shipment of vitrified High Level Waste (HLW) is expected to be shipped from Sellafield to Japan early in 2010. Sellafield Ltd announced November 25, that the first HLW return shipment to Japan was expected to be completed by next in March. Depending on which of three recognised sea routes was selected, the return could take up to 6 weeks – indicating a departure from the UK sometime in January 2010. It is likely that the HLW, loaded into transport containers, will be sent from Sellafield to Barrow docks by rail and loaded onto the Pacific Sandpiper for the 25,000km voyage to Japan.

The upcoming shipment will be the first repatriation of any category of foreign waste to overseas customers – despite Japanese and other wastes having been produced for more than thirty years by the reprocessing of Japanese spent fuel at Sellafield’s Magnox and THORP plant. Whilst  overseas reprocessing contracts signed after 1976 required customers to take back all reprocessing wastes, a system of ‘waste substitution’ was agreed between Government, Sellafield and customers in 2004 whereby only HLW would be returned – leaving the significantly larger volumes of Intermediate and Low level wastes to be disposed of in the UK. To compensate for the amount of radioactivity in those wastes that will remain in the UK, a ‘radiological equivalance’ will be returned to overseas customers in the form of additional HLW. For Japan, whose utilities will receive around 850 canisters of HLW directly resulting from their reprocessing contracts, the equivalence amounts to an extra 150 canisters, making 1000 in total.

Sellafield owners NDA have said that an overall total of 1850 HLW canisters are due to be repatriated to Japanese and European customers over the coming years. INS has confirmed that following the first return to Japan, the next HLW shipment will be to the Netherlands.

Source: CORE Briefing, 16 November 2009

Unlimited licence for Swiss nuclear power plant.

An environment ministry decision to grant an unlimited licence to the Mühleberg nuclear power station has prompted mixed reaction.The operators of the Mühleberg plant (outside the capital Bern) said they welcomed the move because it finally puts all five nuclear power stations in Switzerland on par with each other. The Mühleberg facility became operational in 1972 and had a licence that was due to run out by the end of 2012. An application has already been handed in to built a new reactor in ten years’ time.
Critics of nuclear power described the decision as irresponsible and scandalous. They pledged to challenge it in court. The Swiss Energy Foundation said the Mühleberg plant had safety problems. The technology used at the plant is also outdated according to the centre-left Social Democrats and the Green Party. In November 2009 voters in canton Vaud came out against extending the life of the plant beyond 2012. The governments in four other cantons which are customers of the plant were divided.
Source:, 22 December 2009

Canada: Sept-Iles residents want Quebec to halt uranium mining.

Some 1,000 protesters gathered on December 13, in the town of Sept-Iles about 900 kilometers northwest of Montreal on the North Shore to protest against uranium mining. The residents continue to pressure Quebec to slap a moratorium on uranium exploration in the province, despite the government's promise to open a debate on health and safety concerns  surrounding the industry. The protesters were backing 20 doctors who threatened to quit their practice in the remote Quebec region because of plans to build a uranium mine nearby. "We're showing our support," said Marc Fafard, spokesman and founder of a grassroots group opposed to uranium mining in the province. "We want to show how proud we are of the doctors to have finally made this a provincial debate. Like it should be." The province's head of public health, Dr. Alain Poirier, met with the doctors the week before the demonstration and announced Quebec would create a special committee to study the potential risks of uranium exploration and mining on health and safety. The uranium debate has been raging in the region for more than a year, since mining company Terra Ventures Inc. began exploration for low-grade uranium near Lac Kachiwiss, some 20 kilometers north of Sept-Iles. Residents have concerns over the health and safety of uranium mines and fear the mining waste could contaminate local drinking water.

Source: The Canadian Press, 13 December 2009

Canada: Province threatens lawsuit over cost overruns. 

The Province of New Brunswick said Canada's federal government should cover cost overruns on the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant or the province will sue Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., according to the Canadian press reports. AECL is the government-controlled "crown corporation" that is performing the Can$ 1.4 billion (US$1.36 billion, 937 million Euro) renovation of Atlantic Canada's only nuclear power plant. The project was supposed to have been completed last September, but is running 18 months behind schedule. If the project remains behind schedule, officials say it could cost the province about $400 million (US$387 million) to buy replacement power. Under a memorandum of understanding signed last fall, New Brunswick won't be paid for Point Lepreau until the refurbishment is complete and the plant is generating electricity. This is the first refurbishment of a Candu-6 reactor and AECL is hoping to use Point Lepreau as a showcase to refurbish similar reactors around the world. In November two units of the Bruce A nuclear plant (earlier CANDU-types) have been given regulatory approval for refuelling and restart  after being out of service for more than a decade. Their major refurbishment (amongst others the replacement of fuel channels and steam generators) was over budget for almost Can$ 1 billion and 12 months behind schedule. (Read more in 'Restart go-ahead for refurbished Canadian units'; Nuclear Monitor 698, 27 November 2009)

Sources: Power Engineering International, 11 January 2010 / Nuclear Monitor 698, 27 November 2009

Heavy forging facility in India. 

Construction has started on a steel manufacturing and heavy forging facility in Gujarat state, India, as part of a joint venture between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T). During a ceremony on 9 January the foundation stone for the new facility was laid at L&T's existing manufacturing site in Hazira, Surat. The new facility will have a dedicated steel melt shop producing ingots of up to 600 tons, as well as a heavy forge shop equipped with a forging press that will be amongst the largest in the world. The facility will supply finished forgings for nuclear reactors, pressurizers and steam generators, and also heavy forgings for critical equipment in the hydrocarbon sector and for thermal power plants. L&T is India's biggest engineering and construction company and makes reactor pressure vessels for the country's pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs), fast breeder reactor and steam generators. It has been involved in supply of equipment, systems and services for nearly all the PHWRs that have been indigenously built, including the manufacture of calandrias, end-shields, steam generators, primary heat transport system and heat exchangers.

The capacity worldwide for heavy forging for nuclear reactors is very limited. At least in the short term, only one facility in the world, Japan Steel Works, can cast large forgings for certain reactor pressure vessels. JSW is aiming to produce sufficient forgings to supply theequivalent of about 8.5 sets a year by 2010 and the maximum ingot size is to be increased to 650 t.. The problem is the term “equivalent” because it is unclear how much of the forging capacity is dedicated in practice to new nuclear projects. JSW also supplies, for example, about 100 forgings a year for fossil fuel turbine and generator rotors to China alone.

Sources: World Nuclear news, 11 January 2010 / World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2009, M. Schneider, S. Thomas, A. Froggatt, D. Koplow


Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(September 17, 2004) As the international community attempts to reestablish effective non-proliferation regimes, the news that South Korea, like its Northern neighbor and Iran, could be referred to the UN Security Council following the confirmation of clandestine nuclear experiments sent shock waves around the world.

(615.5634) WISE Amsterdam - Although it first appeared that the government of South Korea had made a 'courageous' admission of illicit experiments by a few 'rogue' scientists many years ago, it now emerges that Seoul has not been quite as candid as it would have the world believe.

Initially the story was that the South Korean government had informed the IAEA in mid-August that scientists, acting without official authorization, had enriched a tiny amount of uranium in 2000 out of 'scientific curiosity'. Seoul was quick to assert that the experiment ended 4 years ago, almost as soon as it had begun, and insisted that machinery used had been destroyed, although no precise date could be given for this.

Atomic vapor laser isotope separation (AVLIS) technology had been used to produce 0.2 grams of enriched uranium (to about 10% u-235) at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (Kaeri) in Daejon.

Then, the world learnt that in the early 1980s other 'rogue' scientists, again working without approval, had also extracted "milligrams" of plutonium in another experiment led by 'curiosity'. This involved spent fuel from a research reactor, which operated between 1972 and 1995. There were reports that these experiments had already been subject to IAEA attention but details were sketchy.

Although South Korea did abandon its nuclear weapons program in the 1970s, it has emerged that IAEA inspectors have harbored suspicions regarding the country's nuclear program for years now. Some diplomats and analysts have even accused Seoul of a deliberate cover-up and question the veracity of claims that all was done for civilian purposes alone.

South Korea signed the IAEA's Additional Protocol in February but informed the agency of the illegal experiments only a few weeks ago.

International reaction

The first reaction from US officials was carefully gauged admonishment, later followed with praise for Seoul because it had volunteered the information to IAEA. Later, Under Secretary of State John Bolton said that Seoul could expect no favors from Washington in the matter.

According to the Washington Post, the Bush administration has independently started an investigation to discover whether the South Korean researchers were trained during the US-South Korean exchange program on nuclear technology. If the enrichment technology had been transferred from the US to South Korea, it could trigger angry responses from North Korea or Iran.

During an interview with Reuters on 14 September, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that secret experiments did not necessarily suggest "an interest in a nuclear weapons development program" - except maybe if you are not one of Washington's close allies. Powell also called for the IAEA to be allowed to investigate and judge whether or not further action was required. Very understanding.

North Korea, on the other hand, is not as tolerant. Pyongyang quickly warned of a renewed nuclear arms race in northeast Asia and has accused the US of double standards in its handling of the affair so far. The Northern state also alleges that South Korea is running a nuclear program for military purposes with US support and cites the curiosity experiments as proof.

Nuclear industry journal, Nuclear Fuel, has reported that both Russian and US laboratories have been implicated and are thought to have assisted the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (Kaeri) with the experiments.

Since South Korea has proved itself capable of starting a weapons program, the North may now claim that its own is required for national security. Observers say that North Korea is now seeking to delay the restart of six-party talks on dismantling its nuclear programs after it reportedly became reluctant to set a date for the next stage of the talks.

IAEA inspections

Five IAEA inspectors are expected to arrive in Seoul on Sunday (19 Sept.) for a seven-day visit to further investigate the nuclear experiments. They will supposedly focus specifically on the 150 kilograms of uranium metal produced in the early 1980s at three facilities not declared to IAEA.

At an IAEA board meeting in Vienna on Monday (13 Sept.) the director general, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, revealed that some of the uranium metal used in enrichment experiments in 2000 had been produced in the 1980s. The Washington Post also reported that ElBaradei also informed the board that South Korea only admitted to the plutonium experiments when forced to after being confronted with evidence amassed by inspectors over a number of years. South Korea was also found to have produced nuclear equipment in the mid-1990s. Dr. ElBaradei is expected to make recommendations as to whether or not to refer the issue to the Security Council by November.

In stark contrast, Iran was praised for its recent efforts to cooperate and ElBaradei explained that several issues regarding Iran's nuclear work had been clarified. Still, he warned Tehran not to continue any centrifuge building activities. Hoseyn Moussavian, Iran's chief negotiator at the UN, confirmed that construction of large-scale centrifuge had been halted, stating, "We have taken maximum steps for confidence-building".

It is worth noting that South Korea enriched uranium to a level four times higher than Iran and years before. All things being equal, South Korea should expect to find itself in much more trouble than Iran is in now - unless its influential friends can produce provide a get out of jail free card that is.

Even if it is proven that the scientists worked without government approval, it still bodes ill for non-proliferation regimes. Seoul, like other signatories, should be able to monitor and control the activities of its scientists otherwise curiosity could end up killing the cat.

Sources: NuclearFuel, 13 September 2004; The Washington Post, 13 September 2004; BBC News 2, 3, 9, 13 September 2004; The Guardian, 14 September 2004; Reuters, 15 September 2004;, 15 September 2004; The Korea Times, 15 September 2004;, 4 & 16 September 2004

Contact: WISE Amsterdam

The South Korean government's admission that uranium was illicitly enriched in South Korea is yet another serious challenge to efforts for a nuclear free north Asia. The scientists insist that the research was solely for the "domestic production of nuclear fuel." The Japanese government has said that it does not believe that South Korea had any intention to develop nuclear weapons.

Both reprocessing and uranium enrichment are clearly prohibited in the Joint Declaration for Denuclearization in Korean Peninsula of December 1991. However, Japan is actively separating enriched uranium at the Rokkashomura centrifuge plant (1050tSWU/year) in Aomori Prefecture. The Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Facility is a huge complex that includes a reprocessing plant expected to start operation in a few years, temporary storage for the high level radioactive waste, and the permanent storage for the low level waste.

Plutonium Action Hiroshima and other Japanese citizens' groups opposed to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and plutonium utilization have issuing warnings that Japan's enormous plutonium program, although allegedly for "peaceful use", will inevitably provoke similar programs in neighbouring countries. If Japan can declare its intention as a "peaceful" one, or energy use, why should others be forced to give up such technologies.

Plutonium Action Hiroshima (WISE Japan), 5 September 2004


Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(August 22, 2003) The Korean government's attempt to settle the nuclear waste dump site dispute faces strong opposition from local residents. In the WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor we have paid attention to the developments in 2003 (583.5492: "Nuclear waste dumpsite issues in South Korea" and 585.5504: "Struggle against waste storage sites"). Of four potential sites, announced in February, Wido (Buan County) in the Jeola Province, now seems to be the final candidate. Protest continued and increased during the last two months.

(591.5535) KFEM - The Korean government's 17 year search for a nuclear dump site has finally reached a conclusion and Buan residents are forced to carry the cross. After only three weeks of geological investigation, the government decided to construct the low-, medium- and high-level nuclear waste disposal facility (1) in the Wido islet, off the coast of Buan County, North Jeola Province. However, the government is now faced with the fierce opposition of a large number of local residents.

On 4 February, the government selected four potential sites but encountering fierce resident objection, decided to change the selection process. The choice was now up to local governments, bidding to host the nuclear dump site, starting on 1 July.

The Roh administration, which came to power with President Roh's image of youth and reformation, stressed the value of "peoples' participation", and entrusted authority to the leaders of autonomous local governments. However, it did not go well, as bribery and secret agreements pervaded behind the doors and the Governor of Buan changed his mind overnight, announcing, out of the blue, that he would bid for the site.

Following this was the government's investigation into the suitability of Buan for the radioactive waste treatment plant. It took ten days to investigate and surprisingly, the government ignored the obvious geological facts, such as the underwater fault lines, which potentially endanger the stability of the facility. The central government settled on Buan, the one and only candidate.

The people of the North Jeola Province have historically thought of themselves as excluded from central development plans and this nuclear dump site must have seemed to be a good chance to pay off their debts with the cash compensation the government was promising to provide.

The MOCIE (Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy) and KHNP (Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company) and several North Jeola university professors started to persuade Governor Kim of Buan to okay the plan until 1:00 a.m. on 11 July. Governor Kim has been openly opposed to hosting a nuclear dumpsite in his hometown, and rejected excavation for the suitability test twice in the past. On the same day, the Buan County Committee was going to hold a meeting for the bidding, but governor Kim held a quick press conference before the committee meeting, declaring that he had decided host the site.

After the press conference, the committee rejeced the hosting of the nuclear dumpsite 7 to 5. The governor's arbitrary decision to host the site instantly raised the rage of Buan residents and they started to stage demonstrations from then on, the arduous struggle against the danger, and undemocratic conduct of the government imposed on them took off. About 6,000 police from all over the country were sent to repress unarmed protesters. 150 residents so far were injured during the protests in Buan.

Nevertheless, on 24 July, the government confirmed that Wido, Buan County will be the site.

Wido is a small island with a population of 1,400, adjacent to Young Gwang nuclear power plant to the south, and Saemangeum reclamation to the North. Wido's fishing grounds are destroyed because of these and the residents are heavily in debt. Using this situation as bait, KHNP falsely diffused talks of US$ 250,000 to 423,000 compensation, which would enable residents pay off their debts. This is how the government got consent from 90% of Wido residents. After Wido residents realized that they were not going to receive a cash compensation, they formed an opposition committee.

Governor Kim's face is on the wanted posters in Buan, primary and secondary students are refusing to go to school, and local shopkeepers are closing down their shops to protest. Fishermen blocked the seaway to Wido with their 250 fishing boats, and 10,000 people seized the highway. 1,500 motor vehicles paralyzed traffic in JeonJu, the local capital of the North Jeola Province, in a protest against the provincial governor.

The locals, including various groups of people from the left- wingers to the right, and the young and old, are voluntarily gathering together to oppose to the government's decision. The candlelight protest has become a daily ritual to more than 10,000 residents of Buan (a county with 70,000 population). They have been going on for 20 nights and the vigils do not seem to have weakened a bit. Even the residents seemed to be surprised at their own power and with a positive and encouraged attitude, the resident's anti-nuclear movement is actively growing.

The government and nuclear industry are falsely claiming that plutonium is safe enough to eat, that spent fuel is a renewable resource -- not a high-level nuclear waste, that the rest of the world is successfully operating nuclear waste disposal facilities, that those developed nations are continuing to construct nuclear power plants, without more nuclear power plants, electricity will run out by 2008, and that the storage for low- and medium-level radioactive waste will be desperately in need in 2008.

Buan residents are developing their local based protest against this particular nuclear waste disposal facility to the national movement for the government's abandonment of the nuclear centered energy policy.

(1) Low and medium level waste storage facility which will hold 800,000 barrels in total (at the initial stage it will hold 100,000 barrels) to be completed in 2008, and a high level nuclear waste storage facility which will hold 20,000 tons in total (at the initial stage it will hold 2,000 tons) to be completed in 2016.

Source and contact: Yangi Wonyoung at Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, 251 Nuha-Dong, Chongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 735 7000
Fax: +82 2 730 1240

South Korea: struggle against waste storage sites

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(April 11, 2003) On 4 February the South Korean government announced four candidate sites for a nuclear waste storage facility (see WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 583.5492: "Nuclear waste dumpsite issue in South Korea"). Since the announcement, there have been various actions to protest the government's plan.

(585.5504) KFEM - Residents in the 4 sites demonstrated in their hometown. 4,000 ~ 13,000 people gathered in the demonstrations respectively. In Ulchin, 5,000 residents fought with police in the course of trying to enter a nuclear power plant near the town, to show their fury against the nuclear facility. In Youngduk, residents occupied a major highway in that area for about 3 hours. On 27 March, 7,000 residents from the 4 sites gathered together in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, to show their opinion that no place in the world is suitable for nuclear waste storage facilities. And since 28 March, a monk of Won-Buddhism, a Korean national religion, has gone on a hunger strike (It's the 14th day of hunger as of April 10).

Similarities with the protests in the past
The protests show similarities with the fights in the past. Since 1989, when the government's plan for a nuclear waste storage facility was revealed for the first time, the major power of struggles has come from residents in the sites planned for a facility. In 1990, for example, residents in Anmyeon island fought so fiercely that the area almost fell into a state of anarchy when they blocked the only bridge to land, occupied the county office and police office, and announced a self-ruling republic.

Differences with the fights in the past
The current fights, however, show some differences from the fights in the past:

  • Differently from the past, the local governments are no longer considered as the major target of these fights. In some ways, the local governments share the understanding that a misleading policy of the central government will not benefit the local. It originates from the change of local government in South Korea. Since 1995, residents in local areas have elected their own local government heads and local assembly men.
  • With the reason above, it is obvious that the residents demonstrate in Seoul, where the central government and assembly locate. In the rally on 27 March, for example, the slogan was "Nuclear power plant in front of the National Assembly, Nuclear waste dumpsite in the backyard of the Presidential Mansion". Important thing is, the residents are now saying that the locals should not be sacrificed for the capital that uses the most energy and has political power.
  • In the past, there were not much residents who could think that nuclear itself is the problem, rather than 'not in my hometown.' But now, residents in the 4 sites understand well that nuclear itself is the problem. And so the residents from all the 4 sites are fighting together to get rid of all the nuclear facilities in South Korea, and in the world.

Response of the government and nuclear industry
The government and nuclear industry have not responded to the recent protests. Rather, the nuclear industry is trying to mislead the national opinion blaming the residents' struggles as local egoism. The Korean Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNPC), which is in charge of selecting and constructing the storage facility, has not answered our request to open the research report that was the basis of the selection of the 4 sites. Moreover, KHNPC has not admitted that they bought some people to fabricate the resident's opinion (to invite the facility).

We regard that the nuclear industry itself is the major cause of the social conflicts. In fact, the nuclear industry is handling the Korean policy of electric power. So we will make this opportunity to reform the electric policy including the policy of nuclear waste storage facility and nuclear power plants.

Source and contact: Wonyoung Yang-Yi, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, 251 Nuhadong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82 2 735 7000
Fax: +82 2 730 1240

Nuclear waste dumpsite issue in South Korea

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(February 21, 2003) While the world's media have focused on North Korea re-starting an old nuclear reactor, and allegations that nuclear waste is being reprocessed to make nuclear weapons, South Korea came a step further to deciding where to site a dump for nuclear waste.

(583.5492) KFEM - On 4 February, just after the Lunar New Year's day celebrations, the South Korean government's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) announced the four candidates for the nuclear waste dumpsite. The candidates are Yonggwang and Gochang in South Jeola Province, and Ulchin and Youngduk in North Kyungsang Province. Among these candidates two will be selected, one in each of the above provinces, as the final locations for the nuclear dumpsites in March, 2004. And to our surprise, the government's plan includes a dumpsite for irradiated fuel.

All previous attempts by the government to select a location for the nuclear waste dumpsite ended in failure after strong opposition from the residents and activists. The most recent try was Gulup Island (1). But after about 1 year's strong opposition, the attempt ended in failure as an active fault was found in that area (2). Through these struggles, Korean movement against nuclear waste dumpsite grew into a movement against nuclear power itself. And now Korean activists are demanding that the government change its energy policy from nuclear into renewable resources.

Korea has 18 nuclear power plants now: 6 in Yonggwang , 4 in Ulchin, 4 in Wolsong near Kyungju city, 4 in Kori near Busan city (total: 15,720MW). These nuclear power plants are producing 40% of the total electric power now. And the government is planning to increase this rate upward to 50% in 2030 by building more nuclear reactors. According to the plan, the sites will then have 12, 10, 8, and 6 reactors operating at the same time.

The announcement on 4 February shows the government's will to increase nuclear power generation. To obtain people's approval, the government has said that temporary storage houses for middle and low-level nuclear waste in each nuclear power plants would be filled up in 2008. And the government has threatened that if dumpsites are not built now, we would suffer an energy crisis. But the government itself admitted that as we have the technology to decrease the volume of the waste, dumpsites are not so urgent. The reason the government announced the sites so hurriedly is that they wanted to utilize the political power vacuum before the new President is inaugurated at the end of February.

Korea has so much potential wind power and solar energy. As for solar energy, the amount of solar radiation per unit area is 3 times that of Germany. But the government has no time to develop these energy resources, as it is busy advertising how nuclear power is clean, economical and safe. More than 10 billion Korean Won (US$8 million) a year is used in advertising nuclear. So Korean environmental groups are expecting that the fight against the plan to build the nuclear waste dumpsite will be the turning point in changing the energy policy of Korea.

Since the government announced the sites on 4 February, the local people's fight against nuclear has become stronger and stronger. Won-Buddhism, a Korea-oriented religion, joined the fight. Though Won-Buddhism started the fight to preserve their sacred ground (Yonggwang) from the nuclear waste, now they are saying that they will fight until nuclear is gone from the world because they realized through the fight how nuclear is threatening life and peace. About 16,000 residents in Yonggwang and Ulchin held a rally on 12 and 13 February to demonstrate against the government's announcement in each site. Especially the residents in Ulchin are highly enraged, as the government had promised not to build a dumpsite in Ulchin in 1994, 1999, and 2000 according to official papers. In case of Youngduk, the government canceled a nuclear waste dumpsite in 1989. The residents in Gochang and Youngduk are preparing a rally in the near future.

While nuclear power has fallen out of fashion in most of the world, it is still regarded as a clean and safe form of energy in Asia, especially in Korea. For example, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNPC), a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO), is building nuclear power plants with foreign debt guaranteed by the government. (Of the US$60 billion of foreign debt that brought about the 1997 IMF crisis in South Korea, US$20 billion was for KEPCO.) KEPCO has encouraged Koreans to consume as much electric power as 5,600kwh per capita. According to their plan we "have to" spend 8,500kwh per capita in 2015.

They even hope to export nuclear power plants to Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and Romania. In short, South Korea is playing a role as a bridgehead for world multinational nuclear capital to Asia, and the plan to build a nuclear waste dumpsite is related to this.

[Translated from Korean by Yongchang Jang, then edited by WISE Amsterdam]


  1. Also known as Kurop - see WISE News Communique 432.4263, "Kurop: Condemnation of an island"
  2. See WISE News Communique 445.4414, "Disposal at Kurop island axed"

Source and contact: Won-young YangYi, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement 251 Nuhadong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82 2-735-7000 Fax: +82 2-730-1240
Email :

Severity of South Korean accident concealed

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
(June 28, 2002) An accident at a nuclear power station in South Korea in April, originally described as a "coolant leakage incident", was in fact a steam generator tube rupture which led to around 45 tons of primary coolant leaking into the secondary circuit. What is more, an official of the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety has warned that revealing the exact cause of the accident may "harm the reliability of whole nuclear industries".

(570.5417) Green Korea United - The 14th "Steam Generator Tube Rupture (SGTR)" accident in the world occurred in Ulchin nuclear power plant (unit 4) located in the north-eastern part of South Korea. [See for a full list]. Due to this rupture accident 45 ton of the primary coolant was poured into the second coolant system. The accident happened around 18 hours after the shut down for the regular inspection and fuel exchange, and the emergency core cooling system (ECCS) didn't work, so operators had to manually input the emergency coolant to the reactor.

Even though the accident happened on 5 April, the Korean Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and the regulator (Ministry of Science & Technology) hid the severity of the accident for the past two months by deliberately describing it as a "coolant leakage incident" in their press release. Korean nuclear activists didn't recognize this press release seriously at first due to their distorted information. The Korean Nuclear Safety Committee announced last 25 May that the "incident" is Level 1 on the 7-level International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), insisting that there was no radiation release to the outside and no one affected by radiation from this event.

Ulchin 4, which started operating in Dec. of 1999, was inspected by the licensee, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), three times before this accident. The inspection methods called Bobbin and MRPC (Motorized Rotating Pancake Coil) revealed slight crack indications, but KHNP ignored the indications, claiming that they were not significant. According to the final investigation report of Korean Nuclear Safety Committee on this accident (which they describe as an "incident"), the main causes of the accident were several cracks around the Expansion Transition - just above the tube sheet. However, the report deliberately avoids commenting on the problematic material of the tube - the so-called Alloy 600 (HTMA), and even slightly denies the probability that the material may have caused the developing of the cracks. Nevertheless, according to the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute, the exact cause of the accident has not been confirmed yet.

There have been 11 SGTR accidents in the world so far, once in Belgium and Japan respectively and 9 times in the US. All the reactors that have experienced SGTR accidents had steam generators made of Alloy 600 (or Inconel 600), and the material has been considered as a main cause of rapid deterioration of the tubes. Unfortunately, the so-called Korean Standard Nuclear Plants from Yonggwang 3,4,5,6 to Ulchin 3,4 have installed the same type of steam generators so far. The KHNP affirms that it can probe or predict this kind of crack on steam generators' tubes since it now has experience, and will prevent same kind of "incident" from other nuclear reactors. However, it didn't explain clearly why it had failed to investigate the cracks appropriately and how it plans to avoid repeating the same problem.

Source and contact: Kwanghoon Seok, Energy and Nuclear Safety issues, Green Korea United, 113-34, Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea, 136-821
Tel : +82 2 747 8500 Fax : +82 2 766 4180
E-mail : or



An unnamed official of the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) said it would take several months for the KHNP to find out the exact cause and process of the steam generator tube rupture. However, he added that the nuclear industry will hesitate to reveal the exact cause since "this kind of investigation may harm the reliability of whole nuclear industries as well as the steam generator supplier".

Such potentially embarrassing revelations about nuclear accidents are often hidden in "commercially confidential" reports. Occasionally parts of these reports are revealed. For example, in a report into the Davis-Besse incident, one such report was quoted as saying that cracks in reactor vessel head penetrations were discovered over twice as often in French reactors as in reactors in other countries. Matthieu Schuler from the French nuclear safety authority suggested this was because the French use eddy-current testing to detect cracks rather than the ultrasonic methods often used elsewhere, including in the US (see WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 568.5402, "Large numbers of undetected cracks in the world's PWRs").

However, the recent Korean incident throws doubt even on the eddy-current testing method, since the two types of testing used - Bobbin and Motorized Rotating Pancake Coil (MRPC) - are both forms of eddy-current testing. True, they revealed crack indications, but the utility was unable to predict that these would lead to catastrophic failure of the tube. Indeed, despite decades of research in universities all over the world and data from hundreds of reactors, there is still no reliable method of predicting crack growth.

This, of course, has not stopped the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission from extending the licenses of some reactors to as much as 60 years. Since no power reactor has been in operation for this long, this means that the old reactors will enter unknown territory, with increasing numbers of cracks, and more chance that the cracks may lead to catastrophic failure as the metal becomes more and more embrittled from decades of irradiation.

Green Korea United report, 19 June 2002; WISE Amsterdam


Strong US. and Canadian pressure on South Korea to buy NPP

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 18, 1999) The Canadian government has threatened South Korea to reduce Canadian imports of non-nuclear Korean key products, including cars, if the nuclear utility Kepco doesn't order a CANDU-9 reactor with state-owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL). The US is also pressing the Koreans to buy US reactors.

(513.5041) WISE Amsterdam - A US senior nuclear official said Canada routinely links AECL nuclear exports to non-nuclear business between Canada and countries in the nuclear market. "They did that in China," he said, when AECL sold two Candus at Qinshan, "and they are doing it in Korea." Canadian officials reacted with rumors that the US State Department was involved in the firing in April of Kepco chief Chang, thereby influencing Kepco's nuclear policy. Of course, US embassy officials at Seoul denied this. Korean government and Kepco officials strongly suggested that both US and Canadian governments exerted influence in a heavy-handed manner to make sure their national nuclear firms were not excluded from Kepco orders.

Officially, South Korean power plans call for building only new Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs), leaving the expansion of Canadian Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs or Candus) an option (see also WISE News Communique 487.4837: AECL may lose South Korean Candu bid). AECL is trying to convince Kepco to continue building Candus that are not yet in the government power plans. To realize that goal, the Canadian government has taken action, according to US officials, which the US government cannot and would not do: linking sales of nuclear reactors to other trade agreements with South Korea.

Canada apparently succeeded: both US and Canadian officials said that after months of discussions, a de facto accord had been reached among the three parties, that both US-designed PWRs and Canadian PHWRs would be involved in the next Kepco orders.

ABB-CE is the only PWR vendor active in the Korean market and its technology is the basis for the Korean PWR program.

The firing of Kepco chief Chang in April, be it through US pressure or not, has resulted in at least a two-month delay of nuclear contracts. Kepco would have announced a decision to order four reactors from US and Canadian nuclear firms. The new Kepco president will have a look at the situation first, which may take eight weeks. President Kim Dae Jung is sheduled to visit Washington around July 4, the US national holiday, and possibly Ottawa after his US trip, Canada hopes.

Competition behind the scenes between the US-Sweden ABB-Combustion Engineering combination and the Canadian AECL has been fierce. Near-term Korean reactor sales contracts are up to US$8 billion.

Source: Nucleonics Week, 6 May 1999
Contact: WISE Seoul


AECL may lose South Korean Candu bid

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(February 27, 1998) South Korean nuclear industry Kepco (Korea Electric Power Corp.) has decided in principle solely to build Pressurized Water Reactors, not the Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) promoted by the Canadian industry. The CANDUs now under construction are to be the last of that type which would be built in the country.

(478.4837) WISE Amsterdam The Canadian nuclear reactor distributor Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) "will build no more reactors in Korea" after Wolsung-4 is completed next year, claimed one South Korean official. Wolsung-4 is the fourth CANDA-reactor built in South Korea. The decision followed an evaluation of the future direction of the Korean nuclear energy program. Outcome of the discussion was to concentrate on one reactor-type. AECL was competing head-on with PWR vendor ABB-CE (Asea Brown Boveri- Combustion Engineering) for four new reactors near Wolsung. Letters of intent for the nuclear project should have been awarded in late 1997, but due to the massive economic crisis, investment decisions were shelved until this spring.

Since November, financial sources were speculating that the ongoing economic crisis would lead to postponing
near-term nuclear investments for a year or more. Officials from both AECL and ABB-CE said that thus far they had not been affected by the cash flow problems of Kepco. But according to ABB-CE reports, Kepco has already put off current construction work at Ulchin-5 and -6, the two last reactors ordered by Kepco, because of its intense cash flow problems. Ulchin-5 and -6 should have entered operations in 2003 and 2004, respectively. ABB-CE had been informally notified of Kepco's intention to delay the project by one year. Construction work at Yonggwang-5 and -6, due to be completed in 2001 and 2002, have not been affected by delays so far.
Kepco has stressed, in meetings with government financial experts, that without continued nuclear construction, South Korea would have to switch to fossil fuels. Prices of gasoline have trebled since the crisis began. Other sources said, however, that the International Monetary Fund and foreign bankers want to stop near- term nuclear investments, and that more emphasis should be placed on rationalizing the use of energy.
The decision not to buy any more reactors from Canada is a heavy blow for AECL, which is also trying to sell reactors to Turkey and China, without success so far.

Source: Nucleonics Week, 29 January 1998, p.1,10,11
Contact: Green Korea, 385-108 Hapjeong-dong Mapo-ku, Seoul, Korea.
Tel: +82-2-325 5525; Fax: +82-2-325 5677

South Korea's N-program - Impacts on the 'IMF era'

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(January 23, 1998) There has been little information on the impact of the financial crisis on the future of South Korea's nuclear power program reported thus far. However, there is ground for hope that perhaps little will change. We can be certain that a determined effort on the part of the environmental movement will help change the balance from a nuclear society to a more sustainable one.

(485.4815) Green Korea United - In early January 1998, Ulchin Unit- 3 started operations that were hailed by the media as a tremendous South Korean achievement and a way to reduce greenhouse gases at low cost. This demonstrates there was still a great deal of education required not only for the South Korean government but also for the media before the public can start to understand the nuclear problem.
Additionally the Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) has been able to secure US$25 million from UK banks, and because of the perceived stability of KEPCO, the terms are apparently more favorable than those that could be obtained by the majority of South Korean companies.
KEPCO continues to propagate the illusion that nuclear power is "made in Korea" but the main retirement -uranium- is all imported. Only the waste is "made in Korea". The uranium used in South Korea is largely from Australia and Canada and is extracted at a high cost not only by South Korea but by the exporting countries. Green Korea United and other environmental organizations are discussing how to expose this situation and to inform the public of the true costs of nuclear power. We would also like to join hands with activists fighting mining developments such as the Jabiluka mine in Australia to present a stronger case against the damage this industry causes at both the "cradle" and the "grave".

The economic crisis has also produced some factors in our favor and we believe that the impact of the financial crisis would be felt by KEPCO in several ways:

  1. Demand for energy and, consequently, expected income, may be expected to fall against projected figures as consumers both in industry and the domestic sector strive to reduce their energy bills.
  2. New taxes on energy inputs would be introduced by the government. For example, until now the South Korean government has not taxed oil inputs to KEPCO power stations. However, on January 15, the government announced that a tax would be applied to this oil.
  3. With the election of new President Kim Dae Jung in December, the transition committee has been busy evaluating past practices and formulating new plans. The transition team announced that subsidies for government companies would be closely scrutinized and subjected to more controls. Such subsidies were subject to few constraints on their use and reporting of expenditure was widely considered inadequate. KEPCO received a subsidy of about US$4 million yearly, without requirement to report on its use. This amount (only a small component of total subsidies) would have to be reduced under the budget prepared to satisfy the conditions of the IMF assistance. South Korean environmental groups would be lobbying for a reduction in the subsidies currently given to KEPCO for research and development.
  4. Currently, KEPCO has a monopoly on power sales but this is set to change. The government plans to change the law relating to electricity supply in the middle of 1998 to allow other companies to enter the market. The resulting competition is expected to lower prices and stimulate innovation.
  5. The change in predicted economic growth for South Korea from 5% to 2% would also result in a reworked long-term electricity supply plan. It is expected that large construction costs would be one of the main elements of the plan to be affected.

All these changes have the potential to help expose the true cost of nuclear power to the South Korean people both in terms of construction and waste disposal. If KEPCO is forced to operate in a competitive market and report expenditure on its nuclear programs in a more transparent manner there is hope that the prevailing nuclear madness in South Korea may finally be cured.

Source and Contact: Seok Kwang Hoon, Energy Campaigner, Green Korea United. 385-108 Hapjeong-dong Mapo-ku Seoul Korea Tel: +82 2 325 5525; Fax: +82 2 325 5677


Protest and repression in South Korea

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(July 25, 1997) "The hysteria of McCarthyism is leading to reckless manhunts in Korea."

(476.4726) WISE Amsterdam -This is what the environmental movement in South Korea thinks about the latest arrest of an anti-nuclear activist. Yang Won-young, staff member of the Anti-Nuclear Peace Team of the KFEM (Korean Federation of Environmental Movements), was arrested by the police at her home in the morning of July 10. She was an active part of the studentsþ environmental movement in college, and after graduating she joined KFEM in June this year. She is under investigation in the Anti-Communism Investigation Office in ChangAndong. No reason for her arrest has been given. The anti-communist hysteria is expected to plague activists until after the presidential elections later this year.

On July 11, 4,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the Wolseong nuclear power plant in Yangnam-myun, Naah-ri, to call for a halt on the plantþs operation. The protesters consisted of local villagers opposing the plant and members of KFEM. Corepresentatives of "People Against Wolseong Power Plant" urged the immediate cancellation of the plan to build four more nuclear power plants and the shutdown of the first two reactors at the site. They argued that "the government recognized the serious danger involved in nuclear power plants in its attempt to cover up the discovery that the epicenter of the earthquake that occurred in the early morning of June 26 was close to the Wolseong nuclear power plant".

Source: Green Energy News (South Korea), 15 July 1997
Contact: Kwanchon KFEM, 427-040 Hyundaistore 2flore Byullyandong Kwanchon City, Korea.
Tel: +82-2-507-3003 or 3007; Fax: +82-2-507-3004