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If war breaks out on Korean peninsula, Japan must be ready for influx of evacuees

North Korea nuclear crisis: Japan bracing itself for influx of evacuees if war erupts
Coast Guard readies plans to escort boats from peninsula to designated ports as brinkmanship continues between Pyongyang and Washington The Independent, 16 Nov 17  
Japan is studying plans to cope with an influx of perhaps tens of thousands of North Korean evacuees if a military or other crisis breaks out on the peninsula, including ways to weed out spies and terrorists, a domestic newspaper said.

The Japan Coast Guard would escort boats fleeing North Korea to designated ports, where police would screen them by checking their identity and possible criminal records and expel those deemed a threat, The Yomiuri newspaper said on Thursday.

It did not say where those people would be sent, however.

Evacuees granted temporary entrance would be transferred to emergency detention centres, probably in southern Japan, after completing quarantine and other procedures.

Officials would then decide whether they were eligible to remain in Japan, The Yomiuri said.

Regional tension over Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear arms programmes remain high.

A senior Chinese diplomat was to visit the North from Friday as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, just a week after US President Donald Trump met Xi in Beijing and pressed for greater action to rein in Pyongyang……..http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/north-korea-crisis-latest-japan-evacuees-influx-nuclear-war-shinzo-abe-kim-jong-un-missile-tests-a8058151.html

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November 17, 2017 Posted by | Japan, North Korea, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea’ President Moon says North Korea nuclear arsenal too developed to be quickly dismantled

North Korea nuclear arsenal too developed to destroy quickly, says Moon,   Christine Kim, 14 Nov 17,  SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday it would not be easy for reclusive North Korea to destroy its nuclear arsenal quickly, even if wanted to, given its weapons programs were so developed. North Korea is under heavy international pressure to end its weapons programs, pursued in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. But it has vowed never to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Speaking to reporters in the Philippines, Moon said that if North Korea agreed to hold talks, negotiations could be held with all options open.

 “If talks begin to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue, I feel it will be realistically difficult for North Korea to completely destroy its nuclear capabilities when their nuclear and missile arsenal are at a developed stage,” Moon said in a briefing.

“If so, North Korea’s nuclear program should be suspended, and negotiations could go on to pursue complete denuclearization.”…….

The North defends the programs as a necessary defense against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.

U.S. President Donald Trump has traded insults and threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as North Korea races toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States.

Trump threatened in his maiden U.N. address to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States was threatened and has said the time for talking, the policy of previous U.S. administrations, is over.

Moon reiterated his stance that now was the time to increase pressure on North Korea so that it would come to talks……..

He said differences in understanding between South Korea and China, North Korea’s lone major ally, regarding the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Koran soil had not been resolved.

“China has not said it has changed its stance to agree to THAAD and still says THAAD infringes on its security…… http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-southkorea/north-korea-nuclear-arsenal-too-developed-to-destroy-quickly-says-moon-idUSKBN1DE1BY

November 15, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Trump says that he and South Korea’ President will “figure it all out” – about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions

Trump vows to ‘figure out’ North Korea nuclear crisis with Moon SBS News, 7 Nov 17,  US President Donald Trump arrived in Seoul on Tuesday vowing to ‘figure it all out’ with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-In, despite the two allies’ differences on how to deal with the nuclear-armed North.

As tensions over Pyongyang’s weapons programme have soared, the US president has traded personal insults and threats of war with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but the South’s capital and its 10 million inhabitants would be on the front line of any conflict.

On Twitter Trump described Moon as “a fine gentleman”, adding: “We will figure it all out!”

The tone was in marked contrast to a previous Trump tweet in which he accused Moon — who has backed engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table — of “appeasement”.

Trump arrived from Japan, where he secured Tokyo’s full support for Washington’s stance that “all options are on the table” regarding Pyongyang, and declaring its nuclear ambitions “a threat to the civilised world and international peace and stability”……..

while Trump has threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury”, Moon is mindful that much of Seoul is within range of the North’s artillery and in an address to parliament last week demanded: “There should be no military action on the peninsula without our prior consent.” http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/11/07/trump-vows-figure-out-north-korea-nuclear-crisis-moon

November 8, 2017 Posted by | politics international, South Korea, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Energy in Asia- some serious considerations – South Korea in particular

The Post-Fukushima Legacy: Nuclear Energy in Asia, South Korea’s Nuclear Energy Industry , Global Research  By Lauren Richardson and Mel Gurtov  November 03, 2017 The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 1 November 2017 

Introduction: Nuclear Energy in Asia, by Mel Gurtov

The Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 2011 has raised serious questions about nuclear power.

In our work since Fukushima, we have tried to answer two questions: What is the current status of nuclear energy in Asia? Does nuclear power have a future in East Asia? By answering those questions, we hope to contribute to the global debate about nuclear energy. To be sure, questions of such magnitude can rarely be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Decisions on energy are made at the national level, on the basis of both objective factors such as cost-effectiveness and notions of the national interest, and less objective ones, such as influence peddled by power plant operators, corruption, and bureaucratic self-interest. Nevertheless, by closely examining the status and probable future of nuclear power plants in specific countries, the authors of this volume come up with answers, albeit mostly of a negative nature.

At the start of 2017, 450 nuclear power reactors were operating in 30 countries, with 60 more under construction in 15 countries. Thirty-four reactors are under construction in Asia, including 21 in China. The “Fukushima effect” has clearly had an impact in Asia, however. In China, no new construction took place between 2011 and 2014, although since then there has been a slow increase of licenses. Nevertheless, the full story of China’s embrace of nuclear power, as told in this volume by M. V. Ramana and Amy King, is that the onset of a ‘new normal’ in economic growth objectives and structural changes in the economy have led to a declining demand for electricity and the likelihood of far less interest in nuclear power than had once been predicted.

On the other hand, in South Korea, which relies on nuclear power for about 31 per cent of its electricity, Lauren Richardson’s chapter which is presented here, shows that the Fukushima disaster and strong civil society opposition have not deflected official support of nuclear power, not only for electricity but also for export.

Meanwhile, the 10 countries that comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are divided about pursuing the nuclear-energy option, with Vietnam deciding to opt out in 2016, and Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines at various stages of evaluation. Even so, the chapter by Mely Caballero-Anthony and Julius Cesar I. Trajano shows that only about 1 per cent of ASEAN’s electricity will derive from nuclear power in 2035, whereas renewables will account for 22 per cent.

How viable nuclear power is finally judged to be will depend primarily on the decisions of governments, but increasingly also on civil society. ASEAN has established a normative framework that emphasises safety, waste disposal, and non-proliferation; and civil society everywhere is increasingly alert to the dangers and costs, above-board and hidden, of nuclear power plants.

As Doug Koplow’s chapter shows, for example, the nuclear industry, like fossil fuels, benefits from many kinds of government subsidies that distort the energy market against renewable energy sources. Costs are politically as well as environmentally consequential: even if construction begins on a nuclear power plant, it will be cancelled and construction abandoned in 12 per cent of all cases. It is important to note that of the 754 reactors constructed since 1951, 90 have been abandoned and 143 plants permanently shut down.

When construction does proceed, it takes between five to 10 years on average for completion (338 of 609), with some 15 per cent taking more than 10 years. And, in the end, old and abandoned reactors will have to be decommissioned, as Kalman A. Robertson discusses, with costs that may double over the next 15–20 years.

As Robertson points out, the problem of safe disposal of radioactive waste and the health risk posed by radiation released during decommissioning should be factored into the total price that cleanup crews and taxpayers will eventually pay. On top of all that, there isn’t much experience worldwide in decommissioning.

Then there is the issue of trust in those who make decisions. Tatsujiro Suzuki’s chapter shows that in Japan, the chief legacy of Fukushima is public loss of trust in Japanese decision-makers and in the nuclear industry itself. Several years after the accident, costs continue to mount, a fact that pro-nuclear advocates elsewhere in Asia might want to consider. They also need to consider the issue of transparency for, as Suzuki shows, the nuclear industry has consistently dodged the fairly obvious lessons of Fukushima with regard to costs, nuclear energy’s future, and communication with the public. Similarly, in Taiwan, as Gloria Kuang-Jung Hsu’s study shows, transparency about safety issues has been notoriously lacking, and a history of efforts to obfuscate nuclear weapon ambitions means that constant vigilance over nuclear regulators is necessary.

Of course, if public opinion does not count in a country—say, in China and Vietnam—the issue of trust is muted. But we know that, even there, people are uneasy about having a nuclear power plant in their backyard. Issues of hidden cost and public trust are also embedded in the biological and health threat posed by nuclear energy. Tilman A. Ruff, a long-time student of radiation effects on human health, demonstrates how these effects have been underestimated. He offers a detailed explanation of what exposure to different doses of radiation, such as from the Fukushima accident, means for cancer rates and effects on DNA. Timothy A. Mousseau and Anders P. Møller, who have undertaken field research for many years on the genetic effects of the Chernobyl accident, look at how nuclear plant accidents affect the health of humans and other species. Combined, these two chapters offer a potent, often overlooked, argument against the nuclear option.

This introduction by Mel Gurtov and the following article by Lauren Richardson are adapted from Peter Van Ness and Mel Gurtov, eds., Learning From Fukushima. Nuclear Power in East Asia. Australian University Press.

Protesting Policy and Practice in South Korea’s Nuclear Energy Industry , by Lauren Richardson

Japan’s March 2011 (3/11) crisis spurred a revival in anti-nuclear activism around the globe. This was certainly the case in South Korea, Japan’s nearest neighbour, which was subject to some of the nuclear fallout from Fukushima. This chapter examines the puzzle of why the South Korean anti-nuclear movement was apparently powerless in the face of its government’s decision to ratchet up nuclear energy production post-3/11. It argues that its limitations stem from the highly insulated nature of energy policymaking in South Korea; the enmeshing of nuclear power in the government’s ‘Green Growth Strategy’; and certain tactical insufficiencies within the movement itself. Notwithstanding these limitations, the movement has successfully capitalised upon more recent domestic shocks to the nuclear power industry, resulting in a slight, yet significant, curtailing of the South Korean government’s nuclear energy capacity targets.

Introduction…..  The evolution of South Korea’s nuclear energy policy…… The bottom-up movement against nuclear energy…….. Phase 1: Pre-Fukushima……..   Phase 2: Post-Fukushima…..  Explaining the limited policy change……   The insularity of nuclear power policymaking……   Nuclear power as ‘green’ energy…….  Tactical insufficiencies in the anti-nuclear movement…….. 

New challenges to South Korea’s nuclear energy industry……     Corruption scandals……..  Cyber-attacks on nuclear power plants….

Conclusion: The post-Fukushima legacy of the South Korean anti-nuclear movement……   https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-post-fukushima-legacy-protesting-policy-and-practice-in-south-koreas-nuclear-energy-industry/5616542

November 4, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, opposition to nuclear, politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

North Korea operates a hospital that treats soldiers exposed to radiation at its nuclear test site

Report: North Korea runs hospital to treat nuclear radiation patients, By Elizabeth Shim  |  Nov. 1, 2017  (UPI)  North Korea operates a hospital that treats soldiers exposed to radiation at its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, according to a Japanese press report.

The Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday the hospital is located near Pyongyang, in North Hwanghae Province. Patients include soldiers who work at Punggye-ri and their families. The North Korea source who spoke to the Asahi on the condition of anonymity did not disclose the number of North Korea radiation patients at the hospital.

But according to the report, the Kim Jong Un regime retains “hundreds of thousands” of North Korean soldiers who are responsible for digging underground tunnels at Punggye-ri or guarding the site.

North Korea has conducted nuclear tests at the site for more than a decade, starting in October 2006, and most recently in September, when it announced its sixth nuclear test.

The test and recent missile launches earned North Korea universal condemnation and heavy economic sanctions.

The Asahi previously reported rumors were circulating among North Koreans residing near the site a “phantom disease” could be spreading “because of the nuclear tests.”

The report is partly backed by a report from South Korea’s unification ministry, according to News 1. About 30 defectors who left North Korea after the first nuclear test in 2006 have expressed concern they were exposed to radiation and have requested checkups, Seoul said in a report to the National Assembly…..https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/11/01/Report-North-Korea-runs-hospital-to-treat-nuclear-radiation-patients/9931509543667/?spt=su&or=btn_tw

November 3, 2017 Posted by | health, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea and China repairing good relations, despite disagreement over THAAD missile defense system

South Korea and China move to normalize relations after THAAD dispute, WP,   October 31 , After a year of frosty diplomacy and economic pressure, South Korea and China announced Tuesday that they would put aside their differences out of a joint desire to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the two countries will resume normal relations. “The two sides attach great importance to the Korea-China relationship,” a statement from the ministry said.

In its own coordinated statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said the two nations would work to put their relationship back on a normal track “as soon as possible.”

China and South Korea have historically deep ties and over the past few decades had enjoyed a close relationship. However, that relationship was deeply damaged last July when Seoul agreed to install the U.S.-owned Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense platform on its land.

Though both Seoul and Washington argued the THAAD system had only defensive capabilities, Beijing was concerned about U.S. encirclement as well as the system’s sophisticated radar capabilities…….

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged that the THAAD dispute had not been fully resolved. “The two sides agreed to engage in communication on THAAD-related issues about which the Chinese side is concerned through communication between their military authorities,” it said in a statement.

For its part, China confirmed Tuesday that its position on THAAD had not changed.

And on Sunday, South Korea’s military chief met with his American and Japanese counterparts, as part of a growing three-way dialogue……..https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/south-korea-and-china-move-to-normalize-relations-after-thaad-conflict/2017/10/31/60f2bad8-bde0-11e7-af84-d3e2ee4b2af1_story.html?utm_term=.f20c0

November 2, 2017 Posted by | China, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea scrapping plans for 6 nuclear reactors, but will continue with 2

South Korea to resume building two new nuclear reactors, but scraps plans for 6 others http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-nuclear-warning/north-korea-diplomat-says-take-atmospheric-nuclear-test-threat-literally-idUSKBN1CU2EI?il=0, Jane Chung SEOUL (Reuters), 26 Oct 17,  – South Korea will resume the suspended construction of two new nuclear reactors from midnight, its energy ministry said on Tuesday, but has torn up plans to build six more reactors as Seoul seeks to meet pledges to cut reliance on nuclear power.

The move will restart work on the two reactors that was frozen after President Moon Jae-in came to power in May on a ticket calling for scaling back nuclear power. It comes after results of a survey unveiled last week found a majority of South Koreans actually backed the projects.

The world’s fifth-biggest nuclear energy user currently runs 24 nuclear reactors, generating a third of the country’s total electricity needs.

“Construction work (for the two new nuclear reactors) will begin immediately after midnight,” Paik Un-gyu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, told a news briefing in the capital.

But in a bid to press on with Moon’s commitment to boost use of natural gas and renewable sources in the nation’s energy mix, the ministry said Seoul will also cancel all plans to construct a further six nuclear reactors. The number of nuclear reactors operating in South Korea will be cut to a net 14 by 2038 it said.

The ministry said it will use alternative fuels such as solar and wind power to replace the six nuclear reactors with a projected combined capacity of 8.8 gigawatts (GW).

Additionally, the Asia’s fourth-largest economy will not allow extending the lifespan of 14 aging nuclear power stations, totaling 12.5 GW of capacity, the statement said.

The energy ministry said it will reflect changes in the country’s long-term energy mix plan, which is expected to be finalised in November.

Reporting by Jane Chung; Additional reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

October 27, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea’s Nuclear Energy Debate

 South Korea’s experiment in deliberative democracy will impact President Moon Jae-in’s nuclear phase-out policy. The Diplomat, By Se Young Jang, October 26, 2017……….The current controversy over the Shin Kori is only the beginning of South Korea’s long journey toward achieving a social consensus on its energy policy. The country is still divided on how to plan and prepare for its energy future. Some experts warn that Moon’s nuclear phase-out policy could lead to the sharp rise of electricity bills, a potential energy shortage, and the downturn of South Korea’s nuclear export capacity. They also point out that increasing the share of LNG in South Korea’s energy mix would create another problem, while renewable energy technology is still in a rudimentary stage. In contrast, supporters for Moon’s phase-out policy assert that safety and environmental concerns should be given first priority, rather than economic gains, and argue that less dangerous LNG could be used as a bridge energy source until renewables become more competitive. Even though nuclear safety measures would be sufficiently advanced, critics argue that the impact of any nuclear accident caused by human mistakes or misjudgment would be far more critical than accidents involving other sources of electricity generation.

On the one hand, the key schism here has been created by the lack of transparency in planning and implementing nuclear energy policy, which has been heavily dominated by key stakeholders including the central government, KHNP, nuclear academia, and business for several decades. The cover-up of a station blackout incident at the Kori nuclear power plant and the falsification of safety documents for nuclear power plant components are only a few examples among many. Although the knowledge and opinion of experts on nuclear technology should be respected in any case, it is notable that today’s conflicts on South Korea’s nuclear energy future are deeply rooted in the public’s growing distrust of the expert community, which failed to assure the public of their expertise in successfully preventing and controlling a potential nuclear accident…….

The deliberative polling with regard to the resumption of construction on the Shin Kori 5 and 6 reactors had its own limits, such as insufficient time assigned for deliberation and a lack of consideration for the voices of local residents around the plant. Despite these limits, this experiment in deliberative democracy is expected to serve as an important precedent for the new administration’s work on peacefully resolving or managing conflicts over other highly divisive issues, like the storage of spent nuclear fuel. Both pro- and anti-nuclear energy advocates, in addition to the Moon administration, now face a new task: how to effectively inform and persuade the public in this era of deliberative democracy. Politics is an art of persuasion, after all.

Se Young Jang is a nonresident scholar at the Nuclear Policy Program in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. more https://thediplomat.com/2017/10/south-koreas-nuclear-energy-debate/

October 27, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea still to phase out nuclear power: commission voted to complete present construction

Proposed resumption of nuclear reactors to delay Moon’s new energy policy http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2017/10/20/0301000000AEN20171020004651315.html SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) — President Moon Jae-in was forced to push back the start of his new nuclear-free energy policy Friday after a public debate commission recommended resuming the construction of two unfinished nuclear reactors he earlier promised to scrap.

The resumption of the construction, however, may have limited effect on the president’s energy policy, which seeks to ultimately build a nuclear energy-free nation.

The commission said 59.5 percent of 471 citizens and experts who took part in the debate voted in favor of completing the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 reactors, while 40.5 percent sided with the president to remove the unfinished reactors for good.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said it respects the commission’s recommendation, adding it will soon take necessary measures to resume the construction of the two nuclear reactors.

Such a swift response from Cheong Wa Dae comes after the president earlier said he would respect the outcome of the debate, noting it would mark the start of what he called “deliberative democracy.”

“The process of reaching a social consensus requires a lot of time and money. But I believe it is a valuable process, considering the social cost we must bear when such decisions are made unilaterally,” the president said earlier.

Scrapping the two new nuclear reactors was a key election pledge of Moon.

Despite the inevitable delay in the start of Moon’s new energy policy, the outcome of the monthslong debate on the fate of the two new nuclear reactors will likely have little or no effect on the president’s ongoing plan to build a nation free of nuclear energy.

The president has noted his new energy policy did not seek to immediately shut down nuclear reactors that are currently in operation, but to do so when they run out their natural designed lifespan, a process he said would take at least four decades, considering the 40-year lifespan of the reactors recently built.

The Shin Kori reactors will also operate for at least 40 years following their completion, which is expected to take a few more years.

Before it was disrupted in July, the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said the construction of the two reactors was 28.8 percent complete. Work on them began in 2016.

Officials at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae insisted the president’s new energy policy was launched the day he took office in May, saying the policy also relied on not building any more nuclear reactors.

The public debate commission also hinted that its recommendation on the fate of the Shin Kori reactors may have been influenced by economic reasons, noting 53.2 percent of those who took part in the process voted in favor of reducing nuclear energy while 35.5 percent said the number of nuclear reactors should be maintained at the current level.

Only 9.7 percent said the number of nuclear reactors should increase, the commission said.

The government earlier said scrapping the construction of the Shin Kori reactors may cost more than US$2 billion for the payment of damages to developers and builders.

The president also remains firm on building a nuclear energy-free nation, the Cheong Wa Dae officials said.

“Up until now, the lives and safety of the people have been put in the backseat when establishing and implementing energy policies, while environmental considerations have also been overlooked,” Moon said earlier.

“To build a safe Republic of Korea and keep pace with the global trend, we … have to implement a great shift in our national energy policy that will reduce nuclear and coal-fired power plants, and implement and increase (the use of) clean, safe future energy.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

North Korea’s belligerant response to USA-South Korea military drills

North Korea warns US of ‘unimaginable’ nuclear strike http://thehill.com/policy/defense/356166-north-korea-warns-us-of-unimaginable-nuclear-strike, North Korea is warning that the United States will face an “unimaginable” nuclear strike for conducting ongoing joint naval drills with the South Korean military on the Korean peninsula.

“The U.S. is running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones,” the state-controlled news agency KCNA warned Thursday, Newsweek reported. “The U.S. should expect that it would face unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time.”

KCNA also reportedly blamed the U.S. for “creating tension on the eve of war” by participating in civilian evacuation drills in South Korea over the weekend.

The remarks come amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

President Trump has recently stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un, whom he’s dubbed “Little Rocket Man.”

During his first address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies.

The high-stakes war of words comes after North Korea conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear tests to display its progress toward developing a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea developing missiles to destroy North Korea nuclear facilities

 https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/10/19/South-Korea-developing-missiles-to-destroy-North-Korea-nuclear-facilities/3121508418413/, By Elizabeth Shim   South Korea is preparing for full-scale war with North Korea by developing missiles that could destroy North Korea nuclear and missile facilities in the event of a conflict.

Gen. Kim Yong-woo, chief of staff of the South Korean army, said a plan to reduce to ashes North Korea’s weapons facilities, has been created, local newspaper Segye Ilbo reported Thursday. Kim, who submitted his report for an annual parliamentary audit by the National Assembly’s defense committee, said the objective of the plan is to decimate Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction while minimizing casualties.

“We will develop the concept of operations that suppresses North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction in the early stages, while minimizing damage,” Kim said Thursday.

The concept of operations includes the development of three types of all-weather, ultra-precise, high-power missiles, the formation of a special maneuvering unit, a combat bot and drone system, and “game changers” or cutting-edge military systems.

The three types of missiles include a tactical surface-to-surface missile, the Hyunmoo-2, and the Hyunmoo-4 missiles, according to local news network YTN. The Hyunmoo-4, capable of carrying a 2-ton nuclear warhead and of targeting North Korea’s underground military facilities, will begin development once U.S.-South Korea missile guidelines are revised.

Included in the plan is an air-ground task force that includes airborne and mechanized troops, that would be deployed to make a push into enemy territory and to neutralize nuclear and missile facilities, Seoul said.

In a separate statement on Thursday, the South Korean navy said the Korea-based three-axis system that includes Kill Chain, Seoul’s pre-emptive strike system, is under review.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secrecy surrounding meeting of World Association of Nuclear Operators in South Korea

Korea Joongang Daily 17th Oct 2017, The Biennial General Meeting (BGM) of the World Association of Nuclear
Operators (WANO) kicked off in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang, on Monday,
bringing together some 500 nuclear industry experts and leaders from around
the world – but the government kept the meeting’s profile very low.

The biennial event, held at the Hico Convention Center in Korea’s cultural
capital some 340 kilometers (211 miles) southeast of Seoul, has the theme
“Leading Nuclear Safety in a Changing World” and will run for six days.
Speakers include Zhang Tao, president of China National Nuclear Power,
Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association and
Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF, the French electricity utility.

On the first day of the event, speeches delivered in panel discussions were not provided
to the press. Not a single placard was hung at the Hico building promoting
the event. Entrance to the convention center was closely regulated. No
press was allowed inside, not even a photographer, one security personnel
said.

The secretive nature of the proceeding was surprising given the
biennial event is often called the “Nuclear Power Olympics” for the
scope of expertise and ideas presented. News reports said state-run Korea
Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) was deliberately avoiding publicity because
of the Moon Jae-in government’s attempt to wean Korea off nuclear power.
http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3039527&cloc=joongangdaily|home|newslist1

October 20, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea: thyroid cancer patients say no to nuclear power plants

Thyroid cancer patients say no to nuclear power plants http://m.koreatimes.co.kr/phone/news/view.jsp?req_newsidx=237600 음성듣기By Kim Se-jeong, 12 Oct 17, 

More than 600 thyroid cancer patients living near nuclear power plants in the country came together earlier this week, calling on the government to keep its construction of new nuclear power plants halted.

They also asked the government to help them cope with their ordeals. Their calls came while the public debate on the construction of two Shin-Kori reactors is at its peak.

“Nuclear power plants are government projects,” a group of thyroid cancer patients and activists said in a press conference at the National Assembly, Wednesday. “We have contributed to the national growth by enduring many side effects of nuclear power plants. Now that we’re sick, we’re left to fight for survival alone.”

There are two ongoing lawsuits raised by the thyroid patients against Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., the operator of the nuclear power plants, and Wednesday’s calls also meant to push the courts which are expected to deliver verdicts within this year.

One was filed in 2012 by a family of three ― a father, mother and son suffering colorectal cancer, thyroid cancer and a developmental disability, respectively. The lower court ruled partially in favor of the family, stating thyroid cancer had been caused by exposure to radioactive iodine from the power plant. The case is currently being reviewed by an appeals court.

The other lawsuit was filed in 2015 by 618 thyroid patients against the operator, demanding recognition and compensation. The patients are awaiting a verdict. What they want from the government are the following. For long-term action, they want no nuclear power plants so there will be no more such patients in Korea,” said Choi Soo-young, a Korean Federation for Environmental Movement activist. “For a short-term solution, they want to relocate themselves and want the government to pay for it.”

Exposure to radioactive iodine is one of the main causes of thyroid cancer.

A couple of epidemiological surveys in Korea have also found a high number of thyroid cancer patients in the areas close to nuclear power plants in Korea. Yet, the KHNP disputed this, saying the high number was a result of overtreatment.

Korea’s 24 nuclear power plants generate almost 30 percent of the nation’s electricity. Eighteen of them are concentrated in the southeastern region of Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongju.

“We want our voices to be heard by the group of citizens who are debating the new nuclear power plant construction. No more new nuclear power plants should be allowed,” Choi said. The group of almost 500 citizens is starting the three-day major debate on Friday in the final phase of the three-month-long debate. A decision on whether to resume the construction of the Shin-Kori reactors is expected on Oct. 20.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | health, politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea deliberates on fate of its unfinished nuclear reactors

Jury on fate of 2 unfinished nuclear reactors to enter crucial debate camp this week 2017/10/08 SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) — Hundreds of members of a jury formed to deliberate President Moon Jae-in’s proposal to scrap two unfinished nuclear power reactors are set to enter a three-day debate camp this week in a crucial final step to determine whether to kill or continue the project.

The 478-member jury, formally known as the “citizens’ participation group,” has since last month been familiarizing themselves with the pros and cons of the controversial proposal to abandon the construction of the Shingori-5 and Shingori-6 reactors in the southeastern city of Ulsan.

Starting Friday evening, they are scheduled to spend two nights together for final debates. The camp, set to be held at the Gyeseongwon retreat training center in the central city of Cheonan, is crucial because participants are expected to make up their mind depending on the debates.

Officials plan to conduct two surveys asking the participants whether the reactors’ construction should continue or end, at the beginning and end of the camp. Results are expected to be the main basis of a recommendation that a state commission plans to make on the reactors’ fate next week…….http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2017/09/29/0302000000AEN20170929002800315.html

October 9, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Catastrophic outcome if North Korea were to attack Seoul and Tokyo

Nuclear hit on Tokyo, Seoul ‘could kill 2 million’  http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/nuclear-hit-on-tokyo-seoul-could-kill-2-million 6 Oct 17 

New research shows disastrous outcomes for nearby US allies if North Korea strikes

SEOUL • As United States President Donald Trump threatens to destroy North Korea, even some of his closest aides have warned of the potentially disastrous effects of a war.

New research published on the 38 North website points to just how catastrophic the impact might be on the regime’s neighbours.

If North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were to launch a nuclear attack on Seoul and Tokyo – both within striking distance of his weapons – as many as 2.1 million people could die and another 7.7 million could be injured, according to the 38 North report.

The analysis by Mr Michael Zagurek Jr, a consultant specialising in databases and computer modelling, is based on North Korea’s current estimated weapons technology and bomb strength.

Mr Zagurek assumes that Mr Kim has a baseline arsenal of 20 to 25 warheads and the capacity to put them on ballistic missiles.

Concerns about a nuclear conflict in North Asia have increased as Mr Kim accelerates his programme of acquiring weapons capable of hitting continental US, and as Mr Trump threatens preemptive military action.

 While the chance of a direct attack on US allies Japan and South Korea remains slim, Mr Zagurek said history was replete with miscalculation by “rational actors” during crisis situations.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho last month said the regime’s possible next steps include testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

According to Mr Zagurek, it is possible that another nuclear test, an intercontinental ballistic missile test, or a missile test that has the payload impact area too close to US bases in Guam might see Washington react with force.

US options could include attempting to shoot down the test missiles or possibly attacking the North’s missile testing, nuclear-related sites, missile deployment areas or the Kim regime itself. In turn, the North Korean leadership might perceive such an attack as an attempt to remove the Kim family from power and, as a result, could retaliate with nuclear weapons, he added.

North Korea’s older warheads have yields in the 15-25-kilotonne range, around the size of the bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Fatality estimates rise significantly if North Korea were able to strike with bombs similar to the one it tested on Sept 3, which had a likely yield of 108-205 kilotonnes, Mr Zagurek said.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | Japan, North Korea, South Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment