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South Korea’s major turn away from nuclear energy with Kori-1’s permanent shutdown

 Jun.20,2017 , Changed energy policy prioritizes public safety, in line with South Korea’s turn from developing to developed country

“Permanently shutting down operations at Kori-1 is the beginning of a journey toward a nuclear-free country; it is the turning point toward a safe country. I will soon be preparing a roadmap for the nuclear power phase-out that can set South Koreans’ hearts at ease,” President Moon Jae-in said on June 19. With anxiety increasing around the world about the safety of nuclear power following the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, Moon has become the first South Korean president to declare a nuclear power phase-out, signaling a major change in the country’s energy policy.

“Since South Korea has to import the majority of its energy, nuclear power was the energy policy chosen when we were still a developing country, but now it’s time to change that,” said Moon during an address delivered at a ceremony marking the permanent shutdown of Kori-1. The ceremony took place at the Kori Nuclear Power Headquarters of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), located in Gijang County, Busan.

Moon’s declaration of the goal of making South Korea nuclear-free signifies his willingness to turn the country’s current energy policy paradigm on its head. It affirms a transition from the energy policy of developing countries, which prioritize cheap power and efficiency, to that of developed countries, which place a premium on the environment and on the people’s right to life.

The key message offered by Moon is “public safety.” While mentioning the earthquake that struck Gyeongju in Sep. 2016, Moon emphasized that South Korea is no longer safe from earthquakes. Citing the fact that 3.82 million people live within a 30 km radius of the Kori plant, he argued that a nuclear accident in South Korea could be even more horrific than what happened at Fukushima

“The world today is moving irreversibly toward phasing out nuclear power. This is something we have to start now on behalf of our descendants, who will live in this country for millennia to come,” Moon said, making clear that it was impossible to return to the energy policy of the past.
Moon’s address also marks the point when he begins to specifically implement the pledges he made as a presidential candidate. He had promised to scrap all plans for building new nuclear reactors, to immediately shut down reactors whose operational life cycle has ended, to suspend construction on Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6, and to shut down Wolseong-1. “It’s as if the people of Busan [who live close to the Kori nuclear plant] have to live with this bomb by their beds that could go off at any time,” Moon said, after watching the nuclear disaster film “Pandora” at the end of last year. “We shouldn’t be asking whether or not to open up Pandora’s box [nuclear power]; we should be getting rid of the box altogether.”“The reason we haven’t been able to phase out nuclear power is not because of a lack of researchers but because of a lack of government will. The fact that the new government has not only shut down the Kori-1 nuclear reactor but also announced a new energy policy and declared its intention to phase out nuclear power in this address is very significant,” said Yun Sun-jin, a professor at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies at Seoul National University.“The next stage is to draw up a detailed roadmap for the nuclear power phase-out. Developed countries are reducing their consumption of electricity. A superficial comparison should be avoided since their industrial structures are different from ours, but in the future, we too should be able to move in the direction of the efficient consumption of energy,” Yun added.By Jung Yu-gyung and Lee Jung-ae, staff reporters

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

New South Korean president vows to end use of nuclear power

Moon Jae-in said he would lead country towards a ‘nuclear-free era’ following fears of a Fukushima-style meltdown

4967.jpgMoon Jae-in speaks at an event to mark the closure of South Korea’s oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1.

 

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to phase out the country’s dependence on nuclear power, warning of “unimaginable consequences” from a Fukushima-style meltdown.

Moon, a left-leaning liberal who won last month’s presidential election by a landslide following the impeachment and arrest of Park Geun-hye, said he would increase the role of renewable energy and lead South Korea towards a “nuclear-free era”.

Speaking at an event to mark the closure of the country’s oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1, he said: “So far, South Korea’s energy policy pursued cheap prices and efficiency. “Cheap production prices were considered the priority while the public’s life and safety took a back seat. But it’s time for a change.

We will abolish our nuclear-centred energy policy and move towards a nuclear-free era. We will completely scrap construction plans for new nuclear reactors that are currently under way.”

Moon added that he would not extend the operation of ageing reactors, many of which will come to the end of their lifespans between 2020 and 2030.

Weaning South Korea off nuclear power, however, could take decades, and there is expected to be opposition from construction companies, which have increased technology exports under Moon’s nuclear-friendly predecessors.

The country was the fifth-largest producer of nuclear energy last year, according to the World Nuclear Association, with its 25 reactors generating about a third of its electricity.

The former president Lee Myung-bak saw nuclear as an important source of clean energy, while Park wanted to increase the number of reactors to 36 by 2029.

Moon recognised the role of nuclear power in South Korea’s rapid economic development, but added that Japan’s Fukushima disaster – which prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands of people – had convinced him that his country must look to new sources of energy.

The country’s economic status has changed, our awareness on the importance of the environment has changed. The notion that the safety and lives of people are more important than anything else has become a firm social consensus,” he said.

Anti-nuclear campaigners have long warned of the potentially disastrous consequences of a meltdown at a nuclear plant in South Korea, where many reactors are close to densely populated areas.

The public’s support for nuclear power has weakened since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown and a 2013 corruption scandal over fake safety certificates for reactor parts.

The Fukushima nuclear accident has clearly proved that nuclear reactors are neither safe, economical nor environmentally friendly,” Yonhap news agency quoted Moon as saying.

South Korea is not safe from the risk of earthquakes, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact.”

He also plans to close at least 10 ageing coal-fired power plants before his term ends in 2022 and to boost renewables’ share of the energy mix to 20% by 2030.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/19/new-south-korean-president-vows-to-end-use-of-nuclear-power

June 19, 2017 Posted by | South Korea | | Leave a comment

Denuclearization Started by the Newly Elected South Korea’s Administration

South Korea’s administration has learned well from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, whereas Japan’s administration is still living in denial orchestrating cover-up and lies.

 

southkoreacu.jpgSouth Korea currently operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about 30 percent of the country’s power supply

 

S. Korea to scrap all plans to build new nuclear reactors


South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-In vowed on Monday to scrap all plans to build new nuclear reactors as he seeks to steer Asia’s fourth-largest economy clear of atomic power.

Moon, who swept to power with a landslide election win last month, campaigned on promises to phase out atomic energy and embrace what he says are safer and more environmentally-friendly power sources including solar and wind power.

The Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan sparked by a powerful earthquake in March 2011 sparked widespread public concern in neighbouring South Korea over its own aged atomic plants.

“We will dump our atomic-centric power supply and open the door to the post-nuclear era,” Moon said in a speech marking the decommissioning of the country’s first nuclear reactor, the Kori-1.

“I will scrap all preparations to build new reactors currently underway and will not extend lifespan of current reactors,” he said.

Many reactors are located dangerously close to residential areas in the densely-populated nation, Moon said, warning of “unimaginable consequences” in case of a nuclear meltdown.

“South Korea is not safe from the risk of earthquake, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact,” he said.

South Korea currently operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about 30 percent of the country’s power supply.

Many of them will see their lifespans expire between 2020 to 2030, with decisions on whether to extend some of their operations set to be made during Moon’s 2017-2022 term.

Moon, during his presidential campaign, vowed to try to eventually shut down all nuclear power plants across the country, although doing so will likely take decades.

Major corruption scandals involving state nuclear power agencies in recent years and a series of earthquakes last year further fanned public distrust and concerns over the safety of the plants.

Moon on Monday also vowed to decommission “as soon as possible” another aged atomic plant in the southeast, whose original 30-year lifespan had been extended by another decade to 2022.

He also vowed to introduce “post-coal” policy in line with his campaign promise to abandon coal power to ease air pollution in the country, which has the highest level of small air pollutant particles among OECD member nations.

But experts say shutdown of coal power plants could dramatically hike utility cost in the country where coal power generates about 40 percent of entire power needs.

https://phys.org/news/2017-06-korea-scrap-nuclear-reactors.html#jCp

Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor ceases operation

Kori No. 1, South Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor located in Busan, ceased operation Sunday at midnight after four decades.

Its operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. said that it cut the power supply Saturday and began the cooling-down process of the reactor.

20170618000189_0.jpg
Kori No.1, South Korea’s first and the oldest nuclear reactor is seen in southern city of Busan.

 

It was officially decommissioned, with the temperature of the reactor gradually dropping to 90 degrees Celsius, from its normal operation at 300 degree Celsius, the KHNP said. Officials will then relocate the spent nuclear fuel stored inside the rector to a liquid sodium-cooled reactor for reprocessing.

The actual dismantling of the facilities is expected to start no later than 2022. The KHNP expects that at least 634 billion won ($559 million) is required for the dismantling. They also need to submit a dismantlement plan within five years for the NCCS’ approval.

The state-run Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, which approved earlier this month the permanent shutdown of Kori No. 1, said it will continue to check the safety management of the suspended reactor on a regular basis until the dismantlement.

Following the government’s approval in 2007, Kori No. 1’s operation was extended by 10 years after a 30-year run.

Some experts oppose the planned reprocessing of nuclear waste, saying the technology, though effective in reducing the volume of waste, could complicate waste disposal by creating different types of radioactive waste.

Under President Moon Jae-in, the South Korean government aims to close all nuclear power plants by shutting down aged facilities and eventually phasing out the rest over the next 40 years.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170618000190

Korea’s first nuclear plant suspended after 40 years of operation

Built as Korea’s first nuclear power plant at Gijang County, Busan, Gori-1 came to a halt after completing its four decades of service, providing electricity since 1978. Gori-1 ended its chapter in the history of Korean nuclear power generation, being the first-ever nuclear powerhouse and the first of its kind to be out of service for good.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) opened its 70th meeting on Friday and announced that it has approved the permanent suspension of Gori-1, requested by the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) last June. Under the recent approval, KHNP will stop operating the aged plant, and will cool nuclear fuels as of midnight on June 19. KHNP plans to dissemble the plant in earnest starting in 2022.

Gori-1 opened an era of commercial nuclear power generation in Korea on April 29, 1978. Meeting the rapidly increasing power demands amid economic growth, it has layed grounds for the nation to develop into an industrial state. While it reached its design life (30 years) in June 2007, the plant was resuscitated and was operated for an additional 10 years after undergoing full repair and consensus with residents.

Some view the first permanent suspension of a Korean nuclear plant as the first step towards denuclearization by the new administration. During his campaign, President Moon Jae-in pledged to immediately close down outdated nuclear plants and reduce nuclear power generation. Under the recent decision made by NSSC, experts view that the extension policy for the lifecycle of a nuclear plant will be set as “once for 10 years.” KHNP will hold a ceremony to celebrate the permanent halt of Gori-1 on June 19.

http://english.donga.com/List/3/04/26/948991/1

 

 

June 19, 2017 Posted by | South Korea | | Leave a comment

South Korea’s  Kori No. 1 nuclear reactor shut down

Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor ceases operation, http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170618000190   By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com), Kori No. 1, South Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor located in Busan, ceased operation Sunday at midnight after four decades.

Its operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. said that it cut the power supply Saturday and began the cooling-down process of the reactor. It was officially decommissioned, with the temperature of the reactor gradually dropping to 90 degrees Celsius, from its normal operation at 300 degree Celsius, the KHNP said. Officials will then relocate the spent nuclear fuel stored inside the rector to a liquid sodium-cooled reactor for reprocessing.

The actual dismantling of the facilities is expected to start no later than 2022. The KHNP expects that at least 634 billion won ($559 million) is required for the dismantling. They also need to submit a dismantlement plan within five years for the NCCS’ approval.

The state-run Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, which approved earlier this month the permanent shutdown of Kori No. 1, said it will continue to check the safety management of the suspended reactor on a regular basis until the dismantlement.

Following the government’s approval in 2007, Kori No. 1’s operation was extended by 10 years after a 30-year run.

Some experts oppose the planned reprocessing of nuclear waste, saying the technology, though effective in reducing the volume of waste, could complicate waste disposal by creating different types of radioactive waste.

Under President Moon Jae-in, the South Korean government aims to close all nuclear power plants by shutting down aged facilities and eventually phasing out the rest over the next 40 years.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Korea | Leave a comment

Permanent shutdown of unit 1 of South Korea’s Kori nuclear power plant

World Nuclear News 9th June 2017, The permanent shutdown of unit 1 of the Kori nuclear power plant has been approved by the South Korea’s nuclear safety regulator. The unit – the country’s oldest operating reactor unit – will be taken offline on 19 June.

Kori 1 is a 576 MWe pressurized water reactor that started commercial operation in 1978. A six-month upgrading and inspection outage at Kori 1 in the second half of 2007 concluded a major refurbishment program and enabled its relicensing for a further ten years. A subsequent relicensing process could have taken Kori 1 to 2027, but Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced in August 2015 that it had withdrawn its application to extend the unit’s operating licence. In June last year, the company applied to decommission the reactor.  http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Final-shutdown-approaches-for-Koreas-oldest-reactor-0906175.html

June 12, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea’s plan for transition from coal and nuclear power

South Korea plans energy U-turn away from coal, nuclear, Reuters By Jane Chung 4 June 17  SEOULA proposed energy U-turn by South Korea’s new government would put the environment at the center of energy policy, shifting one of the world’s staunchest supporters of coal and nuclear power toward natural gas and renewables.

If implemented, the ambitious plans by the world’s fourth biggest coal importer and No.2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer will have a big impact on producers. South Korea’s LNG imports could jump by more than 50 percent by 2030, while coal shipments could peak as early as next year.

But experts warn that any move to halt construction of a raft of new coal and nuclear plants, many of which are already being built, could threaten energy security, spark claims for massive compensation and push up electricity prices.

The plan by the new administration of left-leaning President Moon Jae-in which took power in early May would move a notable laggard in renewables toward green energy, responding to public concerns over air pollution and nuclear safety.

“The government can’t neglect people’s demands and in the long term it’s right to pursue clean and safe energy. But there will be many challenges,” said Sonn Yang-Hoon, Economics Professor at Incheon National University.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, gets 70 percent of its electricity from thermal coal and nuclear reactors, and offers tax benefits to both sectors to ensure abundant electricity at affordable prices.

While Moon’s energy roadmap is still being hashed out, his staff say that care for the environment will play a central role in forming policy.

“Currently taxes are imposed on gas for power generation, and we plan to correct the skewed tax system by seeking to levy environmental taxes on coal and nuclear,” said Paik Ungyu, an energy engineering professor at Hanyang University who advises Moon on energy policy.

The government hopes to boost gas-fired generation from about 18 percent now to 27 percent by 2030 and boost the use of renewables, now mainly hydro, from roughly 5 percent to 20 percent, said Paik.

At the same time, coal’s contribution would fall from about 40 percent to 21.8 percent and nuclear from 30 percent to 21.6 percent, based on power demand growth of 2.2 percent.

DRAMATIC SHIFT

A key short-term option is to boost the operating rates of gas-fired power stations from 40 percent to 60 percent through the reduction or removal of tariffs on gas imports. Coal and nuclear power are exempt from import tariffs.

The price of gas-fired electricity in March was 129.51 won ($0.1160) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), 40 percent more than coal and nearly double the cost of nuclear power, according to data from Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).

Long-term energy economics favor policy change, with renewable costs falling sharply due to improved technology and LNG prices sliding over 70 percent from their 2014 peak on a huge supply increase, especially from Australia and the United States.

“If there are no new nuclear and coal plants, the potential LNG imports could be 46-49 million tonnes per annum depending on the success of the renewable targets,” said Chong Zhi Xin, principal Asia LNG analyst at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Moon this month ordered a temporary halt on 10 old coal-fired power plants and outlined plans to bring forward their permanent closure.

More controversially, he pledged during his campaign to review existing plans to build nine coal power plants and eight nuclear reactors, including the part-completed Shin Kori No.5 and No.6, citing safety concerns.

Experts estimate up to $2.7 billion has already been committed on Shin Kori No.5 and No.6 by state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corp. Work has also started on the coal plant projects, although all are less than 10 percent complete…….https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-politics-energy-idUSKBN18V0EH

June 5, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea soon to announce plans to phase out nuclear power

Korean govt likely announce its nuclear power phase-out plan next month, http://pulsenews.co.kr/view.php?year=2017&no=361752 By Ko Jae-man and Jin Young-tae
2017.05.30 South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to announce his roadmap to phase out from heavy reliance on nuclear energy on June 19 while attending a ceremony closing down the country’s first reactor.

During a briefing session of the presidential planning and advisory committee on Monday, Lee Kae-ho, head of the commission’s second economic team, urged nuclear related organizations including the Nuclear Security and Safety Commission (NSSC) to map out long-term outline of shifting energy policy more oriented towards renewable clean sources from fossil-fueled and nuclear reactors that carry environmental and security risks as promised by Moon during campaign.

Moon had vowed to close down aged nuclear plants and stop building new ones in an aim to push the number of 25 reactors to zero over the next 40 years. Korea started to build atomic plants in the 1970s and runs 25 that are responsible for about a third of the country’s power supply. Moon has vowed to shift the country’s energy dependency away from nuclear power to natural gas and renewable energies.

The commission, in charge of setting up public policy of the new administration for the next five years, also asked the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) to participate in the briefing sessions on nuclear power policy.

Based on the plans to be prepared by related government departments, President Moon will likely announce his zero nuclear plant roadmap during an event to be held on June 19 to permanently shut down the country’s oldest Kori-1 nuclear reactor, according to sources.

The KHNP has suspended building Shin Hanul 3 and 4 reactors scheduled to start construction this month until the new government’s plans on atomic energy come out. The Shin Kori 3, 4 and Shin Hanul 1, 2 reactors are still under construction as they are almost 90 percent completed, but industry watchers believe the construction of Shin Kori 5, 6 reactors that are just 28 percent completed would be stopped.

The Wolsung-1 reactor located in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, will also likely to be closed down as environmental groups and local residents won a court injunction on the government’s approval of extended operation for another 10 years of the reactor that had already completed its 30-year run in November 2012. The reactor has been at the heart of the safety concerns for old nuclear plants due to a series of breakdowns caused by power outages. If the plaintiff wins once again in an appeals trial scheduled on June 5, experts believe the NSSC and KHNP would announce the shutdown of the reactor.

May 31, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Study: S. Korean nuclear disaster would hit Japan the hardest

hjhklmmù.jpgThe 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.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703300001.html

 

May 22, 2017 Posted by | South Korea | , , , | Leave a comment

A nuclear accident in South Korea could contaminate Western Japan, more eriously than South Korea

South Korean nuclear power plant accident would heavily taint western Japan: simulation http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/05/21/national/science-health/nuclear-accident-south-korean-plant-leave-western-japan-massively-contaminated-study/#.WSJ_W5KGPGg

KYODO  A nuclear accident at a power plant in South Korea could cause wider radiation contamination in western Japan than on its home soil, a study by a South Korean scientist has shown.

If a cooling system fails at the spent-fuel storage pools at the Kori power plant’s No. 3 reactor in Busan, massive amounts of cesium-137 would be released that could potentially reach western Japan, according to a simulation by Jungmin Kang of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S. think tank.

In the worst-case scenario, up to 67,000 sq. km of Japanese soil would be contaminated and 28.3 million people would be forced to evacuate, the study said, though the fallout’s spread would depend on the season.

As for South Korea, an accident at the plant could taint more than half of the nation by contaminating up to 54,000 sq. km, it said.

A total of 818 tons of spent nuclear fuel were stored in pools at the site as of the end of 2015, Kang said. He said an accident could be triggered not only by natural disasters but by terrorism or a missile from North Korea.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan, safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

Global nuclear lobby very upset at election of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in

New South Korean President Seen Hindering Nuclear Ambitions, Bloomberg by Stephen Stapczynski

May 16, 2017, 
  • Moon Jae-in campaigned to block new reactor construction
  • Kepco shares fell 5.8% on May 10 following election results

“… South Korea’s Moon Jae-in promised during his successful presidential campaign to scrap or suspend new atomic plants.

Now that Moon is president, that anti-nuclear stance is seen as a threat to South Korea’s ambitions to become a bigger exporter of nuclear equipment and technology — a market valued at as much as $740 billion over the next 10 years.

“If the new government withdraws its support for nuclear development in South Korea, this could send a negative signal to foreign countries looking to purchase reactors,” Kerry-Anne Shanks, a Singapore-based analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd., said by email. “An anti-nuclear stance could challenge Korea’s ambitions to export nuclear technology to other countries.”………

Besides the curbs on new nuclear facilities, Moon also campaigned to cancel any lifetime extensions for existing nuclear plants and to develop a roadmap to eventually rid the nation of atomic power altogether. In nuclear’s place, Moon would place greater emphasis on natural gas and renewables. On Monday, the new president ordered the shutdown for the month of June of 10 coal-fired power plants that have been operating for more than 30 years to cut pollution…..

“Exporting nuclear power plants requires substantial up-front financial support from the vendor and its home government,” said Rod Adams, publisher of Atomic Insights, an industry news website. “There is already some evidence suggesting that the anti-nuclear stance of President Moon Jae-in will make it more difficult for South Korea to export nuclear reactors.”…..

May 17, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Nuclear power in South Korea is forcefully opposed by Catholics

South Korean Catholics rally against use of nuclear power, .- South Korean Catholics are opposing both the country’s reliance on nuclear power and the U.S. missile defense system recently established to pressure the North out of future weapon tests.

A major leader of the anti-nuclear movement, Father Moon Paul Kyu-Hyn, said “getting rid of nuclear power is the only way to survive, to save ourselves, and save the world,” according to Public Radio International.

A missile defense system has caused tensions between the U.S. and China as well as between China and South Korea. The country’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has emphasized his goal to solve the issues in the Korean Peninsula.

Father Moon expressed his disappointed in the new Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD, which became operational on May 2 in the Korean Peninsula. An agreement to install the system was established between the United States and South Korea’s former president, recently incarcerated for political corruption.

“THAAD is a weapon of war. You can’t be for peace if you’re preparing for war,” said Father Moon, an activist who spent three years in jail for illegally crossing over into North Korea in 1989.

He is now leading the charge on the anti-nuclear demonstrations participated by the clergy and lay people, who are opposed the expansion of nuclear power in all of Korea and the rest of the world. The group recently gathered in downtown Seoul to collect a million signatures for support against nuclear energy.

Nearly a third of the country’s electrical consumption relies on nuclear power from over 20 nuclear reactors. Moon Jae-in, who was confirmed president this week, promised to halt expansion of nuclear power and focus on clean energy during a campaign speech in April.

The push to remove nuclear power has increased in South Korea since three plants in Fukushima had a meltdown in 2011 caused by a Tsunami along the shores of Japan. The meltdown forced over 100,000 people to be evacuated from their homes, and the government is still cautious to allow everyone to return due to fears of radiation poison.

In an interview with Public Radio International, Father Cho Hyun-chul, a theology professor at Sogang University in Seoul, said if there is a similar accident revolving South Korea’s power plants then there would be “no room for us to live here. There is no more safe land.”

He continued to say that the destruction nuclear power can cause is “directly against God’s intention,” and the movement is stressing the need to care for the environment – a need heavily emphasized by Pope Francis especially in his encyclical Laudato Si.

The Pope recognized the “tremendous power” nuclear energy has gifted to humanity, but he also spoke against its dangers to the environment and the risk of being used improperly. He said a global consensus to focus on clean and renewable energy is essential for sustaining the earth.

“Such a consensus could lead, for example, to planning a sustainable and diversified agriculture, developing renewable and less polluting forms of energy,” Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si.

According to Reuters, President Moon promised to ease away from nuclear energy in a campaign speech in April. The head for the president’s team on energy policy said South Korea “should move away from coal and nuclear power, and shift to clean or renewable energy-based platforms,” and that he would stop the plans to construct two new reactors in the south of the country.

May 17, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, South Korea | 1 Comment

Putin tells South Korea’s new President that he will help resolve North Korea nuclear issue

Russia’s Putin says ready to help resolve North Korea nuclear issue – South Korea, http://in.reuters.com/article/southkorea-russia-idINKBN1881MQ  By Christine Kim | SEOUL, 12 May 17 

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told his newly elected South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, in a phone call on Friday that he is ready to play a “constructive role” in resolving North Korea’s nuclear threat, the South’s presidential office said.

Putin made the comment after Moon said the foremost task to boost cooperation between the two countries was to strengthen strategic bilateral communication to find a solution to curb North Korea’s nuclear threat, the Blue House said in a statement.

“We hope for Russia to play a constructive role in order for North Korea to stop with its nuclear provocations and go the way of denuclearisation,” Moon was citing as saying to Putin in the 20-minute conversation.

“I, too, aim to find a way to begin talks quickly between North and South Korea as well as the six-party talks,” Moon said, referring to talks aimed at denuclearising North Korea involving the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas.

The talks collapsed in 2008 after North Korea launched a rocket.

Tension has been high for months on the Korean peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and fears it will conduct a sixth nuclear test or test another ballistic missile in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Moon is a liberal who advocates a more conciliatory approach to North Korea compared with his conservative predecessor.Moon also expressed hopes the two countries would be able to cooperate in developing East Asia, including extending a natural gas pipeline from Siberia to South Korea, the Blue House said. Putin said he was ready to help in all of the matters they discussed and the two leaders invited each other for state visits, the Blue House added.

Moon said he would send a special envoy to Russia soon and Putin said he would welcome the envoy.The two leaders said they looked forward to meeting at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Germany in July.

Earlier in the day, Moon spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Blue House said. He asked them to help in curbing North Korea’s nuclear programme and both promised to.

(Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Robert Birsel)

May 13, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, South Korea | Leave a comment

China and South Korea co-operating to reduce nuclear tensions

Xi, new South Korean leader talk nuclear, THE AUSTRALIAN, 11 May 17  Chinese President Xi Jinping and new South Korean President Moon Jae-in have discussed nuclear tensions, with the latter addressing the raft of problems posed by the North’s defiance.

Xi told Moon China had always upheld the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and that the nuclear issue should be resolved through talks, which were in everyone’s interests, according to a state television report.

China was willing to keep working hard with all parties, including South Korea, for the peace and prosperity of the Korean peninsula, he said.

Despite its anger at North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests, China remains the isolated state’s most important economic and diplomatic backer even with Beijing signing up for tough UN sanctions against Pyongyang.

Beijing also has its own issues with Seoul. China has vigorously opposed the deployment of a US anti-missile system in South Korea, saying it threatens Chinese security and will do nothing to resolve tensions with North Korea……..

Moon said in his first speech as president on Wednesday he would immediately begin efforts to defuse security fears on the Korean peninsula and would negotiate with Washington and Beijing to ease tensions over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in the South…..http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/xi-new-south-korean-leader-talk-nuclear/news-story/3ba4f6e5585d7cf577d29f2505a1e332

May 12, 2017 Posted by | China, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Catholics lead in South Korean movement against nuclear power


South Korean Catholics take the lead in protesting against nuclear power, PRI, May 11, 2017, By Matthew Bell Standing up to his own government is nothing new for Moon Kyu-hyun. The 70-year-old Jesuit priest from South Korea made international news back in 1989, when he crossed the border into North Korea illegally.

The Catholic priest’s unsanctioned trip was a political act of defiance against South Korea’s strict National Security Law, which prohibited people in the South from almost any contact with North Korea.

The Rev. Moon was promptly arrested when he returned to the South. And he ended up spending three and a half years in prison.

“Peace and hope is what life is all about,” Moon says, reflecting on lessons learned during his time in jail.

In that same spirit, Moon — whose Christian name is Paul — is part of a group of Catholic clergy taking the lead in a growing anti-nuclear movement in South Korea.  Moon says he is opposed to nuclear weapons, including the North Korean nuclear program that’s been a big part of rising tensions in northeast Asia. But he’s also against recent US actions on the Korean peninsula.

“THAAD is a weapon of war. You can’t be for peace if you’re preparing for war,” Moon says, referring to the anti-missile system recently deployed by the US military in South Korea.

Beyond the nuclear security issue though, Moon and other Catholic leaders are pressuring the South Korean government to rethink the country’s dependence on nuclear power. That is no small order, as this is a country that relies on more than two dozen nuclear power plants for about a third of its electricity.

“Getting rid of nuclear power is the only way to survive, to save ourselves, and save the world,” Moon says during a recent anti-nuclear demonstration in downtown Seoul, where Catholic priests and nuns announced an effort to collect a million signatures in support of their campaign…….

“It’s directly against God’s intention,” Cho says. All Christians, he adds, “believe that God created the universe, and there is the divine order.” Cho says the threat posed by nuclear energy goes against that divine order……..

Catholics here have also forged a somewhat surprising alliance. Japan and Korea have a long and troubled history, to put it mildly. But every year since 2012, Kim Hyun-joo has been part of a group of Korean Catholics who meet up with Japanese Catholics to work together on anti-nuclear protest activities. Kim is an anti-nuclear activist with the Society of Jesus in Seoul……..

Catholic leaders in Korea are following the example of Pope Francis. They say the environment is now a top priority, although they acknowledge the campaign against nuclear power is a going to be a long, uphill struggle……..

the best news for Catholic anti-nuclear activists came when Moon, during the campaign, pledged to cut back drastically on the government’s plans to expand the nuclear power industry. https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-05-11/south-korean-catholics-take-lead-protesting-against-nuclear-power

May 12, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Presidents of China and South Korea team up to influence North Korea against nuclear aggression

China, South Korea seek to steer North from nuclear path, DW 11 May 17 The presidents of China and South Korea have agreed they want North Korea to move away from its agenda of atomic antagonism. A US missile-defense system deployed on the peninsula was also a topic of conversation. In his first talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping since being sworn in as South Korea’s president, South Korea’s Moon Jae-in  sought common ground with China on North Korea’s nuclear program.

“The resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue must be comprehensive and sequential, with pressure and sanctions used in parallel with negotiations,” Moon’s spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, said the president had told Xi. “Sanctions against North Korea are also a means to bring the North to the negotiating table.”

The presidents also discussed the contentious Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system the United States installed in South Korea to Beijing’s chagrin…….http://www.dw.com/en/china-south-korea-seek-to-steer-north-from-nuclear-path/a-38794619

May 12, 2017 Posted by | China, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment