Seoul Court Orders Gov’t to Close Nuclear Reactor Amid Safety Concerns, Sputnik News, 7 Feb 17 The Seoul Administrative Court ordered the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) to cancel its resolution to extend the operation of a nuclear reactor located about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Seoul due to the commission’s failure to follow legal regulations.
MOSCOW — The Seoul Administrative Court ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by a group of local residents to annul the NSSC’s approval of a 10-year extension of the operation of the Wolseong-1 reactor in Gyeongju, which was supposed to be shut down in 2012, the Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.
The reactor was shut down in 2012 after reaching the end of its 30-year commercial operation period. However, the commission issued a new operation license for another 10 years and restarted the reactor in June 2015 after a total of 946 days offline. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the commission’s decision raised safety concerns and resulted in a collective suit filed by 2,167 nearby residents. However, the court recognized only the claims of those living within an 80-kilometer radius of the reactor. The court’s verdict was based on the NSSC’s failure to follow the legal procedures……..https://sputniknews.com/asia/201702071050421931-south-korea-nuclear-reactor/
Trump Uncertainty Fuels South Korea Nuclear Talk, VOA, January 25, 2017 Brian Padden, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA —
Some South Korean conservatives are citing President Donald Trump’s past statements on reducing U.S. security commitments in Asia to argue that their nation must now prepare its own nuclear option to defend against the growing North Korean nuclear threat.
“I’m not saying we should develop nuclear weapons overnight. I’m saying that if there are the right conditions, then we should go nuclear,” said Lee Choon-kun, a researcher with the Korea Institute for Maritime Strategy, at an event sponsored by the East Asia Foundation in Seoul Tuesday…….
South Korea’s nuclear advocates expect contentious times ahead. They take seriously Trump’s criticism, made during the campaign, that South Korea does not pay its fair share for hosting the 28,500 American personnel and military bases in Korea. And they take Trump at his word that, if better compensation terms are not reached, he would consider withdrawing American troops, allowing allies to acquire their own nuclear weapons, and ending the nuclear umbrella mutual defense pacts that require the U.S. military to come to the aid of its allies.
THAAD litmus testSouth Korean officials are reportedly planning to object to any proposed increase in defense reimbursement costs with the United States. Seoul currently reimburses Washington about $866 million annually, that is more than 50 percent of the cost for stationing troops in country. South Korea also spends 2.4 percent of its gross national product (GDP) on national security, compared with 1 percent for Japan and 1.16 percent for Germany, according to the defense ministry in Seoul.Nuclear proponents say that growing resistance in South Korea to the deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense shield could also create a rift in the U.S. alliance.
The THAAD system, which uses interceptor missiles to target high altitude incoming ballistic missiles, is considered a conventional deterrent to North Korea’s increasing ballistic missile capability. Supporters claim it will help defend South Korea from a nuclear missile attack.Opponents say its capability is limited and vulnerable to low altitude missile strikes that could target population centers like Seoul that are close to the inter-Korean border. Some South Korean critics also say THAAD is being deployed to protect U.S. military installations in Korea, and China complains that its powerful radar system could be used to monitor other countries in the region.Beijing’s strong objections to THAAD and reports of related Chinese economic retaliation against South Korea have also contributed to the declining support in South Korea. In December, public opposition to THAAD increased to 51 percent according to a poll conducted by Realmeter.THAAD opponents say it is a continuation of confrontational policies that have not worked to slow North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs.
“The policy that we have implemented has been failing. We have to see the nuclear issue from a different perspective,” said Cheong Wook-sik, the director of the Peace Network in Seoul……..
Nuclear optionProponents say South Korea could quickly develop nuclear weapons using existing nuclear power plant facilities and fuel, and with the military’s advanced conventional weapons production capability.However, South Korea would likely face severe consequences for violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT) that could include diplomatic isolation and international sanctions similar to what North Korea is facing.And it could also lead to Japan and other countries developing their own nuclear deterrent. http://www.voanews.com/a/trump-uncertainty-south-korea-nuclear/3691290.html
Nuclear fuel to be shipped from South Korea to the UAE before being transported to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant “….the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) announced on Sunday that it approved the licensing for transporting and storing nuclear fuel at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.
The two licences have been granted to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and Nawah Energy Company respectively, with the former getting the licence to transport the nuclear fuel, and the latter getting the licence to store the nuclear fuel at the Barakah site…..
Ian Grant, Deputy Director General for Operations at FANR, explained that the nuclear fuel would be shipped in transport casks from South Korea to the UAE, and then loaded onto trucks to transport the fuel to the nuclear reactor site.
“The fuel assemblies are loaded into transport casks and shipped from the Republic of Korea, [afterwards they are] trucked by road from the UAE port to the Barakah site. The transport casks are unloaded, checked and opened. [The] fuel assemblies are inspected individually and moved to the storage locations.”……http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/environment/uae-gets-licence-to-transport-store-nuclear-fuel-1.1966008
The statement from Seoul didn’t disclose details of discussions on nuclear energy, but said the two countries will hold a follow-up meeting in the first half of next year.
A British government statement issued said the two countries underlined a commitment at the meeting to keep working together on science, innovation and technology, without mentioning nuclear power.
Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy and the world’s fifth-biggest user of nuclear power, is keen to export its nuclear reactor technology, developed through state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).
Earlier this year, Britain gave the green light to the $24 billion Hinkley Point C project, its first new nuclear power plant in decades.
Along with that project, NuGen, a joint venture between Toshiba and French utility company Engie, plans to build three reactors at the Moorside site on the coast of Cumbria, in northwest England.
According to Seoul’s statement on Friday, Korea’s energy minister also had a meeting with NuGen chief Tom Samson during his British visit. The minister said Korean participation in Nugen projects would contribute to their success.
Earlier this year a person familiar with the situation told Reuters KEPCO had engaged in talks with Toshiba and Engie about buying a stake NuGen. A NuGen spokesman declined to comment on whether talks were taking place with KEPCO, which also declined to comment.
(Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
On Thursday (October 27) a US military spokesperson confirmed the exercise had been carried out in a rare public announcement.
They said: “Troops of South Korean Air Force’s combat control team, an infiltration commando unit, and the US Air Force’s 353rd Special Operations Group staged a joint exercise at Gunsan Air Base recently.”
Part of the operation saw military transport aircraft practising flying low – something that has been done since the 1990s to test infiltrating North Korea.
These aircraft are apparently used to transport special forces who are on a mission to destroy Kim Jong-un’s missiles and nuclear weapons.
According to a South Korean news network, the 353rd Special Operations Group, which is based at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, completes missions to send commandos into the closed country.
“It’s different from a decapitation strike operation targeting the North Korean leadership.”
There have been calls in the US to launch pre-emptive strikes in North Korea following numerous incidents of despot leader Kim Jong-un testing his countries nuclear power.
Just this week officials confirmed he tested nuclear-capable missile which has the potential to reach the US military base in Guam.
South Korea’s March Toward a Strike-First Nuclear Policy An increasingly provocative North Korea and wavering U.S. support leave Seoul scrambling for more forceful defense options. WSJ By DONALD KIRKOct. 25, 2016 Seoul
After years of hesitation, South Korean defense officials and members of President Park Geun-hye’s ruling Saenuri Party are openly discussing the possibility of pre-emptive strikes on North Korean missile and nuclear facilities. Increasingly, political figures are urging both their own government and the U.S. to go beyond the level of study promised by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and enshrine the right to respond to North Korean threats at least with the heaviest conventional weapons in their arsenal as a formal tenet of U.S. and Korean policy.
Nor is “strike first” the only demand gaining common currency among conservative Koreans. While North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, orders missile and nuclear tests, voices are rising within the Saenuri for South Korea to develop its own nuclear deterrent. The U.S. has opposed proliferation ever since physicists at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute were discovered looking into it during the presidency of Ms. Park’s father, Park Chung-hee………
Calls for a South Korean nuclear submarine are rising in tandem with North Korean missile testing. The North has a large submarine fleet—and has spread alarm by testing a ballistic missile fired from one of its subs.
One South Korean assembly member, Won Yoo-chul, derided longtime U.S. guarantees of a “nuclear umbrella” since the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from the South 25 years ago. “We cannot borrow an umbrella from a neighbor every time it rains,” he warned. “We need to have a raincoat and wear it ourselves.”
U.S. and South Korean officials are talking openly about “decapitation” of the North Korean leadership in a quick strike at Pyongyang. If the word seems hyperbolic to Americans, North and South Koreans alike take it seriously. North Korea has said the term clearly shows why the North has to have a nuclear program “for self-defense” while many South Korean officials see “decapitation” as the ultimate solution—with or without nuclear weapons.
“Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” was the name the Koreans gave a massive exercise this month in the Yellow Sea in which the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan led a joint U.S.-South Korean strike force. Their mission was more sharply defined than in previous war games. This time, said a Korean defense official, ships and planes focused specifically on imaginary North Korean nuclear and missile facilities, command headquarters—and Kim Jong Un…..http://www.wsj.com/articles/south-koreas-march-toward-a-strike-first-nuclear-policy-1477414963
South Korea’s State nuclear company expects to win $billions from marketing nuclear operations to United Arab Emirates
S.Korea signs on to venture to operate UAE’s 1st nuclear power plant http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL3N1C32ZG
SEOUL Oct 20 (Reuters) – State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) agreed to invest $900 million in a company operating the first nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates, South Korea’s energy ministry said on Thursday.
KEPCO expects the deal to boost its revenue by nearly $50 billion over the next 60 years, according to a statement from the ministry.
KEPCO and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) signed the deal to co-invest in the company managing and operating the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant for the next six decades, the ministry statement said.
In 2009, a KEPCO-led consortium won a contract to build the four 1,400 megawatt nuclear reactors that are being constructed at the Barakah plant to meet the UAE’s surging demand for electricity.
South Korea, the world’s fifth-biggest user of nuclear power, constructs and operates its reactors through KEPCO. (Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Tom Hogue)
Seoul Questions Own Defense Strategy as North Korea Nuclear Threat Grows South Korean defense spending is up and a debate is growing over the nuclear option. WSJ, By ALASTAIR GALE Oct. 13, 2016 SEOUL—North Korea’s nuclear push is triggering a military buildup here and adding fuel to a hot debate over South Korea’s defense strategy—including whether the country should have its own nuclear option.
A few conservative politicians and a small majority in opinion polls have for years supported South Korea getting access to nuclear weapons. Lately, some prominent new voices have joined them, including Kim Jin-pyo, a four-term lawmaker from the main, left-of-center opposition party, who said Seoul needed a “balance of terror” to match North Korea’s threat.
Mr. Kim said nuclear weapons in South Korea would also pressure China and Russia to deal with North Korea more seriously……..
The government, however, strongly resists a nuclear option, citing the U.S. umbrella and the negative diplomatic and economic repercussions of opting out of the international nonproliferation regimen. Asked about the experts’ report, the president’s spokesman said: “Our government’s position remains unchanged and we are committed to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”
Under a separate bilateral treaty renewed last year, South Korea is barred from creating nuclear material for weapons in return for U.S. fuel for its atomic-power reactors.
American officials say there has been no discussion about redeploying nuclear weapons here. One senior South Korean government official said privately that calls for Seoul to deploy them were “bullshit.”
But as North Korea advances toward a more-threatening arsenal, including nuclear-tipped missiles that could be fired from submarines, discussion in the South over how to respond has intensified. Talk from military officials of pre-emptive strikes if a nuclear attack appears imminent has become frequent.
Uncertainty over Pyongyang’s progress has amplified fears. “The South Koreans are so nervous because they don’t know what they’re looking at,” said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea………
Against the rising hawkish voices, some South Korean politicians question the effectiveness of nuclear weapons or shows of force in deterring Mr. Kim.
Joo Seung-young, a member of a minor opposition party, said this month that U.S. bomber flights “might just heighten nuclear tension” on the Korean Peninsula……. —Min Sun Lee contributed to this article.
The large-scale naval drills, known as Invincible Spirit, kicked off Monday and are due to run for six days, the South’s navy said in a statement.
On Monday, the allies carried out exercises involving ship-to-ground and submarine-to-ground cruise missiles with average flight ranges of up to 1,000 km, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.
The exercises come just days after reports that the North may be making preparations for a sixth nuclear test or a long-range rocket launch…….
The reclusive nation [North Korea] also stoked concern in August when it claimed to have successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called that test “the greatest success” after the missile landed in Japan’s air defense identification zone, flying about 500 km — its longest test-flight by a weapon of that type.
The SLBM test has left the United States, South Korea and Japan worried that further developmental successes could give the North a difficult-to-detect weapon that would pose a serious security threat to all of them.
The U.S. and its Asian allies have responded to the North’s tests by showing off their own military muscle.
Late last month, the U.S. and South Korea conducted joint naval exercises in the Sea of Japan after Washington earlier in the month flew two supersonic bombers over the South — with one landing on the Korean Peninsula for the first time in 20 years.
One of the bombers also flew the closest a B-1B strategic bomber had ever flown to the border between the North and South. It was the second time in less than a month that the U.S., which has about 28,500 troops in South Korea, had flown bombers over the country. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/10/asia-pacific/u-s-south-korean-joint-naval-drills-kick-off-nuclear-powered-uss-ronald-reagan-set-take-part/#.V__uQeV97Gg
Pope concerned over North Korea’s nuclear testing, Crux, Inés San Martín
“The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there,” says Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with States. ROME-Watching the continuing tension on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea carrying out nuclear tests, a Vatican’s representative has expressed Pope Francis’s concerns to Vienna’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Tuesday that he could confirm that, considering the “delicate situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the Vatican’s Undersecretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, had reiterated in Vienna “the concern of the Holy Father and the Holy See about the continuing tensions in the area on account of the nuclear tests carried out by North Korea.”
Last Tuesday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) had reported that North Korea had successfully conducted a ground test of a new type of high-powered rocket engine.
Camillieri was speaking as the Vatican representative in the 60th General Assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEG), taking place in Vienna Sept. 26-30.
“We view the situation in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] with grave concern,” Camillieri said in his remarks. “The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there.”
The Vatican representative also said the Church welcomes the IAEA’s participation in the “verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” adding that the Holy See sees this agreement positively…….. Talking about disarmament, he again quoted Francis, but this time from the pontiff’s message to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2014, when the Argentine pope said that spending on these weapons squanders a country’s wealth.
“To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price,” the pope had said in the message Camillieri quoted on Tuesday. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2016/09/27/pope-concerned-north-koreas-nuclear-testing/
South Korea and Japan tempted to develop nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea’s nuclear test?
Will North Korea’s Nuclear Test Tempt South Korea and Japan to Go Nuclear?The latest test may strengthen calls South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. The Diplomat, By Pang Zhongying September 27, 2016 North Korea’s latest nuclear test strengthened the sections of public opinion that approve of obtaining nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan. The test, then, could bring about a chain reaction and accelerate the pace of Japanese and South Korean efforts to possess nuclear weapons. Under these circumstances, China will face not only a threat from the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, but also the further deterioration of Northeast Asia’s strategic environment.
In my opinion, the biggest challenge posed to China by this North Korean nuclear test is that South Korea’s domestic support for nuclear weapons may increase. Since Kim Jong-un assumed leadership of North Korea — especially this year — public support for possessing nuclear weapons and turning South Korea into a nuclear state has reached a certain scale. South Korea has been protected by the U.S nuclear umbrella, but now more and more people in South Korea want to build up a domestic nuclear deterrent to balance against North Korea.
On July 1, President Park Geun-hye suddenly decided to deploy the U.S. THAAD system in South Korea. In the following two months, domestic voices advocating for possessing and/or developing nuclear weapons have been constantly coming from South Korea. These voices will get even louder after the latest nuclear test in North Korea. It is said that the tested nuclear warhead was miniaturized, but its blast is estimated to be very large. Readings of the seismic activity in North Korea indicate that the test was very successful. Therefore, South Korea is currently enveloped by the sense of a national security crisis and many now believe that it is not enough to only have United States’ nuclear protection. So North Korea’s nuclear test may further stimulate South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons or develop nuclear weapons, which is also a big challenge for the United States………http://thediplomat.com/2016/09/will-north-koreas-nuclear-test-tempt-south-korea-and-japan-to-go-nuclear/
- The two countries will simulate attacks on nuclear facilities and sudden missile strikes
- The announcement comes after North Korea conducted a nuclear test this month
Four South Korea nuclear reactors suspended due to earthquakes http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-quake-nuclearpower-idUSKCN11I1X5
South Korea’s nuclear operator said early on Tuesday it suspended operation of four reactors at a nuclear power complex as a precaution late on Monday after two earthquakes struck the country’s southeast.
The earthquakes, of magnitude 5.1 and 5.8, occurred on Monday night near the city of Gyeongju, according to South Korea’s meteorological agency.
The 5.8 magnitude earthquake was the strongest recorded in South Korea, an official at the meteorological agency said.
Two injuries had been reported as a result of the quake, but no serious damage had been immediately reported, the agency said.
State-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co shut down the Wolsong No.1, Wolsong No.2, Wolsong No.3 and Wolsong No.4 reactors, with a combined capacity of 2,779 megawatts, an official with the operator said.
It was not immediately clear when the four reactors would restart. The shutdown of the four takes the number of reactors offline in the country to seven, according to KHNP website. KHNP, owned by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), operates 25 nuclear reactors in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
(Reporting by Jane Chung,Ju-min Park; Editing by Tony Munroe and Alison Williams)
S Korea draws up plan to destroy Pyongyang https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/32588140/s-korea-draws-up-plan-to-destroy-pyongyang/#page1 AAP on September 11, 2016,
“Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon. In other words, the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map,” reported South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing a military official.
The details of the operation came to light after the South Korean Defence Ministry unveiled the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) plan in front of the National Assembly in response to the latest nuclear test by North Korea.
The plan is to carry out pre-emptive strikes against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the country’s military leadership if any signs of an imminent use of nuclear weapons is detected or in case of a war, the official explained.
In such a scenario, South Korea will deploy its Hyunmoo 2A and Hyunmoo 2B ballistic missiles, with a range of between 300 and 500 kilometres as well as the Hyunmoo-3 cruise missiles with a range of 1000 kilometres.
In mid-August, Seoul announced its intention to significantly boost its arsenal of missiles to counter the growing military threat from North Korea.
Another source cited by Yonhap said Seoul recently set up a special unit in charge of targeting North Korea’s top military leadership and “launching retaliatory attacks on them.”
North Korea conducted its fifth and largest-ever nuclear test on Friday, claiming it had tested a nuclear warhead that can be fitted onto missiles.
The deal, if it goes ahead, would add momentum to Moorside at a time when the rival Hinkley Point nuclear power project in Somerset has been thrown into doubt by concerns about its high cost and the role of Chinese investors in the scheme.
Theresa May, prime minister, is expected to decide this month whether to go ahead with Hinkley, led by EDF of France with Chinese backing, after ordering a review of the £18bn project.
NuGen sees the uncertainty as a chance to leapfrog Hinkley in the race to build the first new nuclear reactor in the UK for more than two decades. However, it is still years behind EDF in securing financing and regulatory approval for its project.
For Kepco, an investment in Moorside would be a chance to gain a foothold in the UK as it builds its presence in the global nuclear industry.
The Cumbrian plant — designed to provide power for 6m homes — would be supplied with reactors by Westinghouse, the US subsidiary of Toshiba. But Kepco sees the UK as a potential future market for its own technology.
South Korea has set a goal to become the world’s third-largest exporter of nuclear reactors by 2030 and has already won a $20bn contract in Abu Dhabi. Tom Samson, chief executive of NuGen, is former chief operating officer of the Abu Dhabi company, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, which struck that deal.
Kepco is not without controversy, having been rocked by a domestic safety scandal three years ago. The country’s atomic watchdog said safety certificates for thousands of components procured by Korean reactors over the previous nine years had been forged. An ally of Kepco said the scandal was behind it and the group was now seen as “a first division player” in nuclear power.
The group, 51 per cent owned by the South Korean government, first entered talks with NuGen three years ago, but no deal was reached. Four people with knowledge of the situation said talks had since resumed and made progress over a potential equity stake in NuGen as well as a possible role in construction.
NuGen declined to comment on Kepco but said it had a “universe of options for financing” and was talking to a variety of potential investors and contractors. Kepco could not be immediately reached for comment.
The UK government has put nuclear power at the heart of its energy policy, with a target for 14GW of generating capacity from new reactors by 2035. However, its refusal to inject public money has left ministers dependent on foreign investors to finance the programme.
As well as Hinkley and Moorside, Hitachi of Japan also has plans for reactors at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. EDF and its Chinese state-backed partner CGN are planning further reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex.
The latter project has been the focus of close scrutiny from Downing Street since Mrs May became prime minister because Bradwell would involve Chinese rather than French reactor technology.
New nuclear power stations are seen as crucial to UK energy security in the coming decades as dirty coal-fired power stations and old nuclear reactors are phased out. But critics say nuclear is too expensive and believe a mix of renewables and natural gas could keep the lights on at a lower cost while still reducing carbon emissions.
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