(July 12, 1996) 1995 was the year that the South Korean government and its nuclear policy suffered a setback by the cancellation of the Koorup Island nuclear waste site. (see WISE NC 432.4263 and NC 445.4414)
(456.4517) WISE Amsterdam - But in December 1995 the government announced a "long-term plan of electric power supply 1995-2010". Today 11 reactors at four sites already supply 35% of the whole country's electricity needs. Moreover five reactors are under construction, and if the government's plan is realized in 2010, half of the electricity needs will be provided through nuclear energy. Nowadays the hottest issue is the construction of the units 5 and 6 at the Yonggwang site.
In South Korea a local decentralized government system was installed but the first act of the head of the municipality in Yonggwang was to cancel the permission to build new reactors. The central government and KEPCO (the monopolized electricity company) were puzzled at this cancellation. They tried to change it. The local residents reacted against the pressure and held some demonstrations. In May the government suddenly arrested three leaders of the grass-roots movement (all of them are members of the Yonggwang Roman Catholic Church). In July the three arrested persons and a priest who helped local residents, were sentenced to one and a half years in jail.
The government plans to change the law to take back some power from the local authorities, so that such an "unwelcome" decision cannot be taken for a second time. Many NGOs in Korea are preparing to protest against this law and to help the prisoners. Support letters are welcome.
Source and Contact: Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), 110-042 Nooha Dong 251 Chongo Seoul, Korea.
Tel: +82-735 7000
Fax: +82-730 1240.