Future of nuclear energy bleak in Korea All major candidates vow to stop building new reactors, Korea Times, By Jung Min-ho, 21 Apr 17, The future of nuclear energy looks bleak in Korea for whoever becomes the next president.
All major candidates have vowed to stop building new nuclear reactors and close down older ones in an effort to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear energy.
Left-leaning Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) candidate Moon Jae-in, the frontrunner in the race, promised to cancel construction plans for two additional nuclear reactors ― Shin Kori 5 and 6. He believes Korea will have to phase out all of its remaining nuclear power plants over the next 40 years.
Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party, the runner-up, also made the same promises, though he did not mention specifically by when he plans to remove all nuclear reactors. Korea has 23 nuclear reactors in operation, from which it gets about 30 percent of its power. Five more reactors are under construction.
Sim Sang-jeung of the minor Justice Party is taking the strongest stance against nuclear energy. She said she will immediately close down all the reactors under construction and rid the country of nuclear reactors by 2040.
The two right-wing candidates ― Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Party and Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberty Korea Party ― are more cautious about the idea of removing all the nuclear reactors, but still, they are not far apart on the issue compared to other candidates.
Four of the candidates have also vowed to reduce the country’s dependence on coal power plants as well to resolve the issue of fine dust, which has become worse in recent years. Hong alone remains skeptical of doing so, but he said he will regulate their operations more strictly instead…….
Meanwhile, all the candidates vowed to increase investment into developing renewable energy sources. The two leading candidates said they will initiate the project to increase the country’s reliance on renewable energy to 20 percent by 2030.
“Compared with the previous presidential election, candidates have taken more progressive approaches over the issue,” said Kim Mi-kyung, a climate change activist at the environmental group Greenpeace. “We expect Korea to follow the global trends of nuclear-free, coal-free and more renewable energy.”
South Korea coal, nuclear power targeted for cuts by presidential candidates http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/south-korea-coal-nuclear-power-targeted-for-cuts-by-presidentia/3672862.html12 Apr 2017 SEOUL: No matter who is elected as South Korea’s new leader next month it is clear that coal and nuclear power generation will likely be scaled back, with most of the candidates laying out plans on Wednesday to address public concerns over pollution and safety.
Less than a month from a May 9 election to replace impeached president Park Geun-hye, policy experts outlined in a forum the energy proposals of four of the five contenders.
The two leading candidates, liberal front-runner Moon Jae-In and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo, both plan to lower South Korea’s reliance on coal and nuclear power, pointing to a need to shift to renewable energy, according to their policy advisors. In the latest poll by Gallup Korea, Moon got the support of 38 percent of respondents, and Ahn got 35 percent.
South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, gets 40 percent of its electricity from coal, 30 percent from nuclear, 20 percent from natural gas, and the rest from oil and renewables.
But policy changes are expected amid growing concerns over pollution and the safety of nuclear energy, and Moon and Ahn appear determined to help drive them.
“We should move away from coal and nuclear power, and shift to clean or renewable energy-based platforms,” said Kim Jwa-kwan, head of Moon’s energy policy team. Kim said his team planned for nuclear and coal power to account for 18 percent and 15 percent respectively of power supply by 2030, while the contribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would increase to 37 percent to support the rise of renewables.
If elected, Moon also “would scrap a plan to build Shin Kori No.5 and Shin Kori No.6 nuclear reactors on which construction began last year and revamp the country’s nuclear power expansion scheme,” Kim said.
That means South Korea’s plan to build 11 nuclear reactors by 2029 could be under threat.
Ahn would similarly shelve a plan to construct four coal-fired power plants and not extend the lifespan of ageing coal and nuclear power stations, said Oh Jeong-Rye, deputy director of Ahn’s People Party.
Both candidates target a 20 percent renewable energy share by 2030 as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions.
Under the current power supply plan, in addition to building 11 nuclear reactors by 2029 – three of which are already under construction – South Korea plans to add 20 more coal-fired power plants by 2022.
Policy experts for two other candidates – the conservative Bareun Party’s Yoo Seong-min and the left-wing Justice Party’s Sim Sang-jung – also said they would overhaul South Korea’s coal and nuclear energy policy.
Sim would cut nuclear power to zero by 2040 and phase out coal by 2060, according to her energy advisor.
(Reporting By Jane Chung; Additional reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Tom Hogue)
South Korea Seeks to Assure Citizens U.S. Won’t Strike North Pre-emptively APRIL 11, 2017 SEOUL, South Korea — Reacting to worries and conjecture spreading in South Korea of a possible pre-emptive American military strike on nuclear-armed North Korea, the government sought to reassure citizens on Tuesday that there would be no such attack without its consent.
Trump’s Options for North Korea Include Placing Nukes in South Korea, NBC News 7 Apr 17 by , , and
The National Security Council has presented President Donald Trump with options to respond to North Korea’s nuclear program
— including putting American nukes in South Korea or killing dictator Kim Jong-un, multiple top-ranking intelligence and military officials told NBC News.
Both scenarios are part of an accelerated review of North Korea policy prepared in advance of Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.
The White House hopes the Chinese will do more to influence Pyongyang through diplomacy and enhanced sanctions. But if that fails, and North Korea continues its development of nuclear weapons, there are other options on the table that would significantly alter U.S. policy.
The first and most controversial course of action under consideration is placing U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea. The U.S. withdrew all nuclear weapons from South Korea 25 years ago. Bringing back bombs — likely to Osan Air Base, less than 50 miles south of the capital of Seoul — would mark the first overseas nuclear deployment since the end of the Cold War, an unquestionably provocative move.
“We have 20 years of diplomacy and sanctions under our belt that has failed to stop the North Korean program,” one senior intelligence official involved in the review told NBC News. “I’m not advocating pre-emptive war, nor do I think that the deployment of nuclear weapons buys more for us than it costs,” but he stressed that the U.S. was dealing with a “war today” situation. He doubted that Chinese and American interests coincided closely enough to find a diplomatic solution………http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-s-options-north-korea-include-placing-nukes-south-korea-n743571
The projected spread of radioactive cesium-137 from a disaster at the No. 3 reactor’s spent fuel pool of the Kori nuclear plant in Busan, South Korea (Provided by Kang Jung-min)
A serious nuclear accident in South Korea could force the evacuation of more than 28 million people in Japan, compared with around 24 million in the home country of the disaster.
Japan would also be hit harder by radioactive fallout than South Korea in such a disaster, particularly if it occurred in winter, when strong westerly winds would blow radioactive substances across the Sea of Japan, according to a simulation by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based think tank.
The simulation, based on a scenario of an unfolding crisis at the Kori nuclear power plant in Busan, South Korea, was led by Kang Jung-min, a South Korean senior researcher of nuclear physics, and his colleagues.
At events in Japan and South Korea, Kang, 51, has repeatedly warned about East Asia’s vulnerability to a severe nuclear accident, saying the region shares the “same destiny” regardless of the location of such a disaster.
The Kori nuclear complex is home to seven of the country’s 25 commercial reactors, making it one of the largest in South Korea. Its oldest reactor–and the first in the country–went online in 1978.
Spent nuclear fuel at the Kori plant is cooled in on-site storage pools next to reactors.
But the operator of the plant has ended up storing spent fuel in more cramped conditions than in the past because waste keeps accumulating from the many years of operations.
An estimated 818 tons of spent fuel was being stored at the pool of the Kori No. 3 reactor as of the end of 2015, the most at any reactor in the country.
That is because the No. 3 pool has also been holding spent fuel from the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors since their fuel pools became too crowded.
Storing spent fuel in such a manner greatly increases the risk of a nuclear accident, Kang warned.
Kang’s team simulated the series of likely events that would follow if the No. 3 reactor lost power in a natural disaster or an act of terrorism.
With no power, the spent fuel at the No. 3 reactor could not be cooled. The cooling water would evaporate, exposing the fuel rods to air, generating intensive heat and causing a fire.
Hydrogen gas would then fill up the fuel storage building, leading to an explosion that would result in the release of a large amount of vaporized cesium-137 from the spent fuel.
Assuming that the catastrophe occurred on Jan. 1, 2015, the researchers determined how highly radioactive cesium-137 would spread and fall to the ground based on the actual weather conditions over the following week, as well as the direction and velocity of winds.
To gauge the size of the area and population that would be forced to evacuate in such a disaster, the team took into account recommendations by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, a private entity, and other organizations.
The results showed that up to 67,000 square kilometers of land in Japan–or much of the western part of the country–would fall under the evacuation zone, displacing a maximum of 28.3 million people.
In South Korea, up to 54,000 square kilometers would need to be vacated, affecting up to 24.3 million people.
The simulation also found that 18.4 million Japanese and 19 million Koreans would remain displaced for even after 30 years, the half-life of cesium-137, in a worst-case scenario.
Radioactive materials from South Korea would also pollute North Korea and China, according to the study.
Nineteen reactors in South Korea are located in the coastal area facing the Sea of Japan, including those at the Kori nuclear power plant.
Kang said the public should be alerted to the dangers of highly toxic spent fuel, an inevitable byproduct of nuclear power generation.
One ton of spent fuel contains 100,000 curies of cesium-137, meaning that 20 tons of spent fuel would be enough to match the estimated 2 million curies of cesium-137 released in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
An average-size light-water reactor produces about 20 tons of spent fuel in one year of operation.
East Asia is home to one of the world’s largest congestions of nuclear facilities, Kang said.
Japan, China and South Korea, which have all promoted nuclear energy as state policy for decades, together host about 100 commercial reactors.
A number of nuclear-related facilities are also concentrated in North Korea, particularly in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang.
If a severe accident were to occur in China, the pollution would inevitably spill over to South Korea and then to Japan.
“That is why people should take serious interest in not just their own country’s nuclear issues, but also in neighboring countries,” Kang said. “Japan, China and South Korea should cooperate with each other to ensure the safety and security of spent fuel and nuclear facilities.”
He said the risks of a fire would be reduced if spent fuel were placed at greater intervals in storage pools.
“Ideally, spent fuel should be moved to sealed dry casks and cooled with air after it is cooled in a pool for about five years,” he said.
South Korea’s Kori No. 4 nuclear reactor shut due to water level rise, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-nuclear-idUSKBN16Y2N6 South Korea’s Kori No. 4 nuclear reactor was manually shut down after the water level in a collection tank rose due to a coolant leak, a spokesman at the reactor’s operator said on Tuesday.
“We estimate the water level of the reactor’s collection tank increased after coolant was leaked,” said Lim Dae-hyun, the spokesman at Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co Ltd (KHNP).
Lim added that there was no release of radioactivity and that the cause of the water level increase was being investigated.
The 950-megawatt Kori No. 4 reactor is near Busan, a city more than 300 km (190 miles) southeast of the capital, Seoul.
KHNP, fully owned by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), runs the country’s 25 nuclear reactors, which supply about a third of South Korea’s electricity. (Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
North Korea’s nuclear EMP attack to ‘plunge US into DARK APOCALYPSE’ http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/596437/Kim-Jong-un-Donald-Trump-World-War-3-Nuclear-War-North-Korea-US-EMP-Pyongyang
KIM Jong-un could send the US back to the Stone Age by unleashing a devastating Cold War-style attack on its power grid, a former CIA boss has warned. By Jamie Micklethwaite / Published 14th March 2017 North Korea and the US have been at loggerheads recently, with the tubby tyrant threatening to launch a devastating nuclear assault on US heartland.
Donald Trump has responded by promising repercussions for the hermit state and deploying anti-missile systems on their border.
But a former head of the country’s intelligence agency has warned The Donald that Kim could detonate a nuclear missile into the atmosphere, unleashing a terrifying “electromagnetic pulse” attack.
This would knock out the US’ energy infrastructure, unleashing a doomsday apocalypse scenario.
Former CIA chief chief James Woolsey said: “I think this is the principal, the most important and dangerous, threat to the United States.
“If you look at the electric grid and what it’s susceptible to, we would be moving into a world with no food delivery, no water purification, no banking, no telecommunications, no medicine.
“All of these things depend on electricity in one way or another.”
EMPs can naturally occur – but can also be created with nuclear weapons in the atmosphere.
During the Cold War, the US experimented with this, exploding a nuclear weapon above the Pacific, that knocked out lights and telephone wires in Hawaii. Ex-CIA worker Peter Vincent Pry revealed even a small nuclear bomb could cause a devastating EMP attack.
He said: “One of the myths out there is that you need a high-yield weapon to do an EMP attack.
“Even a low-yield, primitive weapon like the bomb used in Hiroshima will produce a potentially catastrophic EMP field because it’s simply attacking things that are not hardened.”
Terror expert Scott Stewart added that the US grid was very vulnerable, and any EMP attack could trigger a nuclear war.
He said: “Nuclear weapons give (Kim) a deterrent.
“That you can draw a nuke on Seoul very easily is far more of a deterrent than an EMP strike against the United States. “Nothing would take his government down quicker than an actual war against the US.”
The North has launched five missiles this year in a chilling warning to the US.
US troops, including elite marines who killed Osama bin Laden and nuclear bombers are currently taking part in military exercises on the North Korean border with South Korea.
Catholics plan for a future free from nuclear threats http://www.ucanews.com/news/catholics-plan-for-a-future-free-from-nuclear-threats/78620 Civil society groups have delivered a non-nuclear road map to Korea’s presidential candidates March 13, 2017
Anti-nuclear groups in Korea will send their draft for a non-nuclear road map to all major presidential candidates ahead of upcoming elections following news of President Park Geun-hye’s ouster.
The Catholic Solidarity Against Nuclear Energy together with Energy Justice Action, a civic environment group, announced a plan for a “nuclear energy-free Korea.”
They proposed 10 short-term tasks to the next government, including the establishment of a National Energy Commission, no new nuclear power plants, suspension of aged nuclear reactors and reshuffling the power grid in favor of reusable energy.
They also picked five mid and long-term tasks including new management guidelines for nuclear waste, stopping the export of nuclear power and reaffirming principles against nuclear weapons.
The two groups will finalize a road map based on the draft after an activist and public survey, explanation sessions and meeting with experts.
Donald Trump says nuclear threat from North Korea has entered ‘new phase’
US president told Japanese PM he is ‘100%’ with Tokyo as US moves Thaad missile defence system into South Korea following Pyongyang missile launches, Guardian, Justin McCurry The threat posed by North Korea to the US and its allies has entered a “new phase”, Donald Trump said on Tuesday, a day after the regime test-launched four ballistic missiles towards Japan.
In phone talks on Tuesday, Trump told Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, that the US stood “100%” with Tokyo after three of the intermediate-range missiles landed in the sea off Japan’s north-west coast.
“President Trump told me that the United States was with Japan 100%, and that he wanted his comments to be communicated to the Japanese people,” Abe told reporters at his residence. “He said he wanted us to trust him as well as the United States 100%.
“Japan and the United States confirmed that the latest missile firing by North Korea … is a clear challenge to the region and the international community, and that its threat has entered a new phase.”
The comments came as the US said the “first elements” of its controversial missile defence system had arrived in South Korea on Tuesday. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile system is meant to intercept and destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles during the last part of their flights, the US Pacific Command said in a statement.
“Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy Thaad to South Korea,” US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris said.
China has denounced Thaad’s deployment, saying its powerful radar would compromise its security.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing military sources, said the system could be operational as early as April, well ahead of schedule.
Trump and Abe spoke as the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, declared the launches a success and warned that they were part of a training exercise for an attack on US military bases in Japan, home to almost 50,000 American troops.
“The four ballistic rockets launched simultaneously are so accurate that they look like acrobatic flying corps in formation,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim as saying. The regime also released images of the missile launches, with a smiling Kim in attendance.
The launches were seen as a protest against the start of joint military exercises involving South Korea and the US that Pyongyang regards as a rehearsal for an invasion of North Korea.
A day after operation Foal Eagle began last Wednesday, North Korea’s army, deploying the same vitriolic language it reserves for the annual drills, warned that it was ready to “immediately launch its merciless military counteractions” if South Korean or US forces fired “even a single shell” into waters near the divided Korean peninsula…….
Trump has yet to state how he intends to address the growing North Korean threat from ballistic missiles, amid evidence that the regime is edging closer to acquiring the ability to marry a miniaturised nuclear warhead with a long-range missile capable of striking the US mainland.
The UN has imposed six rounds of sanctions since the North conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, but they have failed to dent the regime’s quest to build what it claims is a “defensive” nuclear arsenal.
Trump has not publicly commented on Monday’s missile launch, but his ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said on Twitter that the world “won’t allow” North Korea to continue on its “destructive path”.
Choi Kang, an analyst at the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said the launch was a warning to Tokyo. “North Korea is demonstrating that its target is not just limited to the Korean peninsula any more but can extend to Japan at any time and even the US,” he said. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/07/donald-trump-threat-north-korea-new-phase
|US expert: uranium price falling, why is S. Korea seeking expensive spent fuel processing facilities? The Hankyoreh, 7 Mar 17
Frank von Hippel says South Korea is trying to develop two kinds of technology other countries have failed at
“The price of uranium is gradually falling, and it costs twice as much to acquire spent fuel processing facilities for running a fast reactor. I don’t understand why [South Korea] is trying to acquire such expensive facilities,” said Frank von Hippel, 80, a professor at Princeton University, during a lecture at a seminar called “Truth and Lies about Pyroprocessing” that was held at the Daejeon Youth We Can Center on Feb. 28. Von Hippel is the American nuclear expert who first proposed the term “proliferation resistance.”
“The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute is trying to develop the two technologies that all other advanced countries have failed to develop, which is to say reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and liquid sodium-cooled fast reactors. While they claim to be pursuing nuclear fuel reprocessing as a way to manage nuclear waste, this doesn’t improve the problem but only makes it worse while incurring tremendous costs,” von Hippel warned.
“I don’t think the Trump administration and the Republicans are going to change the Obama administration’s nuclear policy [of non-proliferation],” he said. …..
“The Idaho National Laboratory promised to process 25 tons of spent nuclear fuel using pyroprocessing in five years, but they only processed five tons in 16 years, which cost a huge amount of money,” he went on to say.
The plan to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and to build fast reactors derives from false predictions about the future, von Hippel explains. In the 1950s, Americans expected that energy demand would double every decade, but the current energy demand is only twice what it was in the 1960s. The American nuclear energy establishment projected in the 1960s that nuclear energy would cover 100% of future energy demand, but at present nuclear power only provides 20% of energy in the US and just 10% of energy worldwide.
The plan to reprocess spent nuclear fuel for use also derived from concerns about the depletion of uranium reserves and rising prices. But the dreaded rise in prices never materialized because predictions about the rate of increase of nuclear plants were way off and because the output of uranium mines has not decreased. “Currently, the cost of uranium only accounts for 1% of the cost that goes into producing electricity at nuclear plants. Even if spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed and used at fast reactors, it will only be about 2%. Not only is this a small percentage of the total cost, but it will only make the cost of generation more expensive. I don‘t know if it’s necessary to acquire high-cost facilities,” van Hippel said.
Along with the high cost, there are high risks, which means that hardly any countries are interested in building fast reactors, von Hippel contends. France’s fast reactor Superphenix cost 100 trillion won to develop but only operated at 8% before being decommissioned, and Japan’s Monju nuclear plant operated at just 1% for 20 years before it was decided last year to shut it down. The UK is also planning to end operations in 2018. China operated a pilot fast reactor in 2011, but after producing 20kg of plutonium, a small amount, it concluded that the benefits were marginal and suspended the program. Russia continues to operate these reactors, but there have reportedly been 15 fires at sodium fast reactors……
In von Hippel’s view, the most affordable policy for managing spent nuclear fuel is first storing nuclear waste in dry casks and then burying those casks deep underground in disposal sites that have been prudently designed with engineered barriers.http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/785468.html
Kepco seen as potential buyer for Toshiba’s ailing nuclear unit, Ft.com 5 Mar 17 South Korean group, in contrast to rivals, is willing to look at Westinghouse deal, by: Kana Inagaki in Tokyo, Song Jung-a in Seoul When Toshiba won a fierce battle in 2006 for control of Westinghouse, a US designer of nuclear power plants, it was a victory against its local rival Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The two Japanese companies engaged in a bidding war that inflated the acquisition price of Westinghouse from $2bn to $5.4bn — a process that left other would-be buyers of the US company in shock, including South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries. A little more than a decade later, another Korean company — state-controlled Korea Electric Power Corporation — has emerged as a possible buyer for Westinghouse, which is reeling from large cost overruns on two US nuclear power plants. Moreover, Kepco may well be the only potential acquirer of Westinghouse that is acceptable to western countries, above all the US.
Toshiba is suffering the worst financial crisis in its history because of Westinghouse’s troubles, and last month said it was willing to sell its controlling shareholding in the US company, as well as reduce its 60 per cent stake in a consortium called NuGen, which is planning to build a new nuclear plant in the UK. South Korea has ambitions to become a leading player in the global nuclear industry, and officials at the country’s energy ministry, and Kepco, are keen to secure work on new power plants following a drought in overseas deals since the company landed a breakthrough $20bn export deal in 2009 to supply the United Arab Emirates with four reactors. Kepco has been in negotiations for months about investing in NuGen, according to people involved in the process, although the scale of the Korean company’s participation has not been finalised. The attraction of the UK, however, is clear: Britain has become an important market for the nuclear industry given that other countries, such as Germany, are phasing out reactors……..
Another Korean government official says there could be an industrial logic to Kepco buying Westinghouse, or establishing some kind of partnership with the US company, because this would provide a means to accelerate the country’s expansion in the global nuclear market. Kepco’s participation in both Westinghouse and NuGen could be essential, say several nuclear experts, because other potential bids from China and Russia risk being blocked by the US and the UK over national security concerns. There are few other obvious bidders for Westinghouse……….
A deal between Kepco and Westinghouse could help propel South Korea towards its goal of becoming an important player in the global nuclear industry. Both companies are on an export drive. On top of the UAE deal, Kepco is aiming to sell six more reactors by 2020. Meanwhile, Westinghouse is trying to drum up sales of the AP1000, its latest reactor design, which is currently only being installed in new power plants in the US and China……..
But bankers say Toshiba may find it hard to sell Westinghouse now — having tried several times already. The four reactors being built in the US using Westinghouse’s AP1000 design are already more than three years behind schedule and, on a combined basis, more than $10bn over their original budgets. These problems were the main factors behind Toshiba’s announcement last month of a $6.3bn writedown on its US nuclear business. Some experts say that, with reduced demand for nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, it is questionable whether Kepco would gain anything from buying Westinghouse. “Why should [Kepco] take such big financial risks by taking over a troubled business amid the gloomy industry outlook?” asks Suh Kyun-ryul, professor of atomic engineering at Seoul National University…….https://www.ft.com/content/32f14d76-f8e6-11e6-9516-2d969e0d3b65
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
UAE gets licence to transport, store nuclear fuel, Gulf News 22 Jan 17
Nuclear fuel to be shipped from South Korea to the UAE before being transported to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant “….t
he 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
South Korea says minister, British counterpart discussed nuclear power cooperation http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-nuclear-uk-idUSKBN14508N 15 Dec 16
South Korea’s energy minister Joo
Hyung-hwan discussed cooperation on British nuclear energy projects in a meeting in London on Thursday with Britain’s business minister Greg Clark, South Korea’s energy ministry said in a statement.
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)