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Is South Korea’s nuclear industry a model for others to follow?

Jim Green, Nuclear Monitor #844, 25 May 2017, https://www.wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/844/south-koreas-nuclear-industry-model-others-follow

As the nuclear power crisis has unfolded in recent months ‒ engulfing major nuclear companies and utilities in the US, Japan and France ‒ South Korea’s nuclear industry has been held up as a model for others to follow. US nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger, for example, explains ‘why Korea won’: “Korea is winning the global competition to build new nuclear plants against China and Russia despite being a fraction of the size, at just 50 million people, and energy-poor. It has done so through focus: standard design, standard construction of plants, standard operation and standard regulation.”1

But South Korea’s nuclear industry is scandal-plagued, it hasn’t won any bids to build reactors overseas since 2009, and it is more than a stretch to describe it as “world class” as nuclear advocate Rod Adams would have you believe.2 Public and political support has been in freefall over the past five years because of the Fukushima disaster and a domestic nuclear corruption scandal (see the following article in this issue of the Nuclear Monitor). In the coming years, nuclear power’s contribution to domestic electricity supply is likely to decline and there is little likelihood that an export industry will flourish. Moreover, with public support for the nuclear industry in freefall, the government has little hope of achieving its aim of securing a site for a high-level nuclear waste repository by 2028.

Korea Times noted on April 21 that every major candidate in South Korea’s presidential election promised to stop building new nuclear reactors and to close down older ones.3 The winner of the May 9 presidential election, Moon Jae-in, who stood as the candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea, is a former human rights lawyer. World Nuclear News reported that Moon was one of seven presidential candidates who signed an agreement in March for a “common policy” to phase out nuclear power.4 During the election campaign, Moon said he would scrap plans for new reactors ‒ including Shin Kori units 5 and 6 ‒ while immediately closing the Wolsong-1 reactor.4 (In February 2017, the Seoul Administrative Court ordered the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission to cancel its decision to extend the lifespan of Wolsong-1 because legal procedures had not been followed in the decision-making process.) Moon also said he would block lifespan extensions for the older reactors at the Kori plant5 ‒ the four Kori reactors were grid-connected between 1977 and 1985. Continue reading

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Reference, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Korea | Leave a comment

 SOUTH KOREA’S CORRUPT AND DANGEROUS NUCLEAR INDUSTRY

“During the eighteen months from the beginning of 2012 to mid- 2013, major corruption incidents occurred in the nuclear power industry in every country currently seeking to export nuclear reactors: the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Russia, France, and China….. “In the Korean case, systemic nuclear industry corruption was found

Supplementary Submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Environment and Planning
Inquiry into Nuclear Prohibition Friends of the Earth Australia www.nuclear.foe.org.au
 June 2020  – Extract 

 SOUTH KOREA’S CORRUPT AND DANGEROUS NUCLEAR INDUSTRY

South Korea’s reactor project in the UAE is years behind schedule: the start-up of the first reactor has not yet occurred despite initially being scheduled for 2017. The project has been promoted as a US$20 billion (A$29 billion) contract but costs have undoubtedly increased. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report gives a figure of €24.4 billion (A$40 billion).[1]

[1] https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/The-World-Nuclear-Industry-Status-Report-2017-HTML.html

[2] KBS, 8 May 2020, ‘S. Korea Unveils Energy Plan to Reduce Coal-powered, Nuclear Power Plants’, http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm

The following articles discuss:

  1. The endemic corruption in South Korea’s nuclear industry.
  2. The business model which sacrifices safety in order to improve economics (the CEO of French nuclear utility Areva likened Korea’s AP1400 reactor design to ‘a car without airbags and safety belts.'[1])
  3. The level of state-sponsored skullduggery associated with South Korea’s nuclear industry is almost beyond belief, even extending to a secret military side-agreement to the UAE reactor contract which was agreed without the knowledge or agreement of South Korea’s parliament

Nuclear corruption and the partial reform of South Korea’s nuclear mafia

Jim Green, Nuclear Monitor #887, 17 June 2020, https://wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/887/nuclear-monitor-887-17-june-2020

The corrupt behavior of Japan’s ‘nuclear village’ ‒ and the very existence of the nuclear village ‒ were root causes of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster and a string of earlier accidents.1 In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, academic Richard Tanter identified a worldwide pattern of nuclear corruption:2

“During the eighteen months from the beginning of 2012 to mid- 2013, major corruption incidents occurred in the nuclear power industry in every country currently seeking to export nuclear reactors: the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Russia, France, and China. A number of other countries that operate or plan to have nuclear power plants also had major corruption cases, including Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Pakistan; moreover, serious allegations of corruption were raised in Egypt, India, Jordan, Nigeria, Slovakia, South Africa, and Taiwan.

 “In the Korean case, systemic nuclear industry corruption was found; in Canada, deep corporate corruption within the largest nuclear engineering corporation was one matter, and bribery of nuclear technology consuming countries’ senior ministers was another. In Russia, the issue was persistent, deep seated, and widespread corruption in state-owned and private nuclear industry companies, with profound implications for the safety of Russian nuclear industry exports.

South Korea is slowly phasing out its nuclear power industry. In the late 2000s, it was anticipated that South Korea’s nuclear capacity would rise from 18 gigawatts (GW) to 43 GW by 2030. The current plan is to reduce the number of reactors from a peak of 26 in 2024 to 17 reactors (approx. 17 GW) in 2034.[2] Thus the ambitions have been more than halved. In recent years the South Korean government has shut down the Kori-1 and Wolsong-1 reactors, and suspended or cancelled plans for six further reactors.

“Two cases in nuclear technology importing countries, Lithuania and Bulgaria, revealed large-scale bribery involving government, the nuclear industry, and foreign (US and Russian) companies.

 “Post-Soviet bloc geostrategic energy interests are central to both stories. The profound influence of organized crime in national energy policy, and on a transnational basis, is revealed in the Bulgarian and Russian cases. Suspicions are widespread and allegations common in the cases of India, Taiwan, and Bangladesh, but confirmed evidence remains weak.”

Since Tanter’s 2013 article, more information has surfaced regarding corruption in Russia’s nuclear industry3-4 and Russia’s nuclear dealings with India.5-7 The corruption associated with the abandoned Westinghouse nuclear power project in South Carolina is gradually coming to light.8 Corruption has been uncovered in the nuclear programs of South Africa9-15, Brazil16, Ukraine17 and, no doubt, elsewhere.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) noted in its 2015 Nuclear Technology Review that counterfeit, fraudulent and suspect items (CFSIs) “are becoming an increasing concern for operating organizations and regulators”18 And again in 2019, an IAEA report noted that CFSIs “are of increasing concern in the nuclear industry and generally throughout the industrial and commercial supply chains.”19 The 2019 report noted that CFSIs “can pose immediate and potential threats to worker safety, facility performance, the public and the environment, and they can negatively impact facility costs.”

 “Post-Soviet bloc geostrategic energy interests are central to both stories. The profound influence of organized crime in national energy policy, and on a transnational basis, is revealed in the Bulgarian and Russian cases. Suspicions are widespread and allegations common in the cases of India, Taiwan, and Bangladesh, but confirmed evidence remains weak.”

“The sequence of events that led to the station blackout began on 4 February 2012 when the management carried out a planned shutdown of the reactor for refuelling. On 9 February, the plant suffered a loss of power due to human error during a test of the main generator. After this, one of the two emergency diesel generators failed to start. The other generator was undergoing maintenance. In addition, the connection to one of the offsite auxiliary transformers failed to work as it had not been properly set up after maintenance; and the other offsite transformer was just entering maintenance. This caused a station blackout lasting 11 minutes 43 seconds. Cooling was lost for 11 minutes. The plant manager only reported the event to the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission on 12 March, more than one month later. … The plant manager justified the decision not to report the blackout on the risk of loss of public confidence and of credibility of the plant with the management of the operating company.”

Not long after, a much broader pattern of corruption began to come to light:

“Investigations of 101 companies revealed a wide range of illegal activities including bribery, overpaying, preferential treatment and favouritism, limiting competition in bidding, accepting parts with fraudulent or even no certificate, and collusion by parties in the falsification of testing reports.”

An investigation by the Korea Institute for Nuclear Safety showed that 2,114 test reports had been falsified by material suppliers and equipment manufacturers; that a further 62 equipment qualification documents (environmental and seismic qualification) were falsified between 1996 and 2012; and that a further 3,408 test reports and 53 qualification reports could not be verified or were unclear.22,23 Over 7,000 reactor parts were replaced in the aftermath of the scandal.23

Andrews-Speed details the corruption that probably had the greatest consequences for reactor safety:22

[1] Nucleonics Week (2010) : No core catcher, double containment for UAE reactors, South Koreans say, April 22, 2010.

“A very special case of systematic counterfeiting came to light in May 2013 when it was revealed that safety-grade control cable installed in four reactors had been falsely certified. The supplier of the cable was a Korean company, JS Cable. In 2004, KHNP decided for the first time to purchase cable from a domestic rather than foreign supplier. JS Cable submitted a bid to KEPCO E&C, despite not having the capability to make cable to the required specifications. KHNP awarded the contract to JS Cable with the first delivery due in 2017, on the condition that the cable met the required standards.

An investigation by the Korea Institute for Nuclear Safety showed that 2,114 test reports had been falsified by material suppliers and equipment manufacturers; that a further 62 equipment qualification documents (environmental and seismic qualification) were falsified between 1996 and 2012; and that a further 3,408 test reports and 53 qualification reports could not be verified or were unclear.22,23 Over 7,000 reactor parts were replaced in the aftermath of the scandal.23

“JS Cable chose Saehan TEP to test the cable, but this firm lacked the capacity to undertake the required loss of coolant testing. So Saehan TEP outsourced the process to the Canadian testing firm, RCM Technologies (RCMT). RCMT tested six samples, but only one passed. JS Cable sent six further samples. Only two passed, but these two samples were illegitimate as they had not been exposed to radiation before testing. In response, KHNP instructed KEPCO E&C to make the test results acceptable. So KEPCO E&C, Saehan TEP and JS cable agreed together to modify the test reports from RCMT to show that all the samples met the required standards.”

The corruption also affected South Korea’s reactor construction project in the UAE. Hyundai Heavy Industries employees offered bribes to KHNP officials in charge of the supply of parts for reactors to be exported to the UAE.24 And ‒ incredibly ‒ the reactor contract was underpinned by a secret military side-agreement, signed without the knowledge or approval of South Korea’s National Assembly, and containing a clause that does not require approval from the National Assembly to engage in conflict, should there be a request for military assistance from the UAE.25-28 The pact includes a clause that would obligate South Korea to intervene militarily to protect the UAE in the event of a crisis, in addition to the deployment of South Korean special forces and the ongoing supply of military equipment.25

Structural problems

Andrews-Speed describes the interlinking elements of South Korea’s ‘nuclear mafia’ involving nuclear power companies, research centers, regulators, government, and educational institutions. He notes that the country’s nuclear industry possesses some special features that make it particularly prone to corruption, relating to the structure and governance of the industry, and its close links with the government.

Both KHNP and KEPCO E&C are monopolists in their fields, and both suffer from poor corporate governance and weak internal management:22

“The poor corporate governance has its roots in the way in which the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is directly involved in the management of KEPCO and its subsidiaries and in the political nature of appointments of many board members and senior managers. The weak internal management was particularly pertinent to safety because, before it was amended in 2014, the Act on Nuclear Safety and Security did not address the safety standards of parts and equipment. Thus, the selling of sub-standard components was not illegal and the task of supply chain oversight was left to KHNP to manage.”

Improvements and lingering problems

Andrews-Speed notes that the Kori-1 blackout and the systemic supply-chain corruption led to efforts to curb corruption. These included revisions to the Nuclear Safety Act giving greater powers to the newly created Nuclear Safety and Security Commission; placing new reporting obligations on all actors in the nuclear supply chain; and broader legislation and regulations governing public procurement, the conduct of public officials and corruption.

But it is doubtful whether these reforms are sufficient:22

“The principal obstacles to progress relate to power and structure. The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission lacks the authority of nuclear regulators in some other countries for a number of reasons

First, after 2013 the status of the Commission Chair was reduced from Ministerial to Vice-Ministerial level and their reporting line was changed from the President to the Prime Minister. The reason for this change of status related more to the career mobility of civil servants than to the governance of nuclear safety. Nevertheless, the consequences for the authority of the Commission have been significant. It cannot now issue any regulations without the approval of the Ministry of Justice and other Ministries. This results in delay and occasional suppression of new regulations. In addition, it has been alleged that the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission redacts and sanitizes the safety reports of the Korea Institute Nuclear Safety. The consequences of this practice on safety are exacerbated by the ability of ministries, politicians and KEPCO subsidiaries to block the tough enforcement of safety standards.

“Second, the National Assembly provides little oversight of the Commission. Instead, authority lies solely with the government. Finally, the term of the Commission Chair is just three years which is shorter than that of the nation’s president which is five years. This contrasts with the situation in the USA, for example, where the Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is appointed for a five-year term, one year longer than that of the US President. As a result, Korean Presidents have significant influence over the nuclear regulator given their remit to appoint all nine members of the Commission. Taken together, these three factors enhance the power of the executive over the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.

“The structural weaknesses within Korea’s nuclear industry are multiple. The Ministries of Finance and Strategy and of Trade, Industry and Energy exert excessive influence over state-owned enterprises, including KHNP and KEPCO E&C. These two corporations not only have strong monopolistic positions but KHNP combines the roles of constructor, owner and operator of nuclear power plants. In addition, KHNP exerts undue influence over KEPCO E&C. This strong triangular relationship between government and two monopolists persists today and forms the core of Korea’s ‘nuclear mafia’. Only radical structural and governance reform can address this fundamental weakness.

 “Further compounding factors include: the corporate culture of KEPCO and its subsidiaries that emphasizes the need for conformity; the weak culture of accountability that arises in part from the absence of a strong law providing for punitive damages; and the general standard of personal and corporate ethics in Korea.”

One indication of ongoing problems ‒ and efforts to resolve them ‒ was the awarding of ‘prize money’ to 14 whistleblowers in 2019 for reporting violations of nuclear or radiation safety laws to the Nuclear Safety and Security Committee.29

There were another six arrests related to nuclear corruption in 2018 ‒ an outcome that only scratched the surface of the problems according to a whistleblower.30

A recent example of violations of safety regulations occurred at the Hanbit-1 reactor on 10 May 2019. The reactor’s thermal output exceeded safety limits but was kept running for nearly 12 hours when it should have been shut down manually at once.31 In addition, the control rods were operated by a person who does not hold a Reactor Operator’s license.32

References: Continue reading

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea risk of power disruption, as nuclear spent fuel builds up, with storage shortage

Wolseong reactors at risk of shutdown due to spent nuclear fuel storage shortage, Pulse News,   By Oh Chan-jong and Choi Mira  2020.05.22   South Korean nuclear reactors responsible for nearly a quarter of the country’s power supply at cheap price could undergo disruption due to shortage of space to store spent nuclear fuel.

According to the committee for reviewing spent fuel management, temporary storage units called Macstor at the Wolseong plant in Gyeongju, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, are now 97.6 percent saturated, and will be fully saturated by March 2022. The time has been extended from the previous projection of November 2021 due to the government’s nuclear phase-out policy.

Failure to begin construction to add storage facilities within 100 days would lead to total shutdown of the Wolseong 2, 3 and 4 reactors that each can generate 700 megawatts of power, equivalent to the anticipated capacity of a solar farm that the government plans to build in Saemangeum with an investment of 10 trillion won ($8.09 billion). The Wolseong 1 reactor was already unplugged last year…….. https://pulsenews.co.kr/view.php?year=2020&no=525749

May 22, 2020 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

South Korea, Germany to bolster ties in transition towards renewable energy

S. Korea, Germany to bolster ties in transition towards renewable energy

 May 12, 2020  SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Tuesday it has agreed with Germany to expand ties in a wide array of energy-related projects, including the decommissioning of nuclear plants, in line with their quests to utilize more sustainable resources.

The cooperation came as a follow-up to an agreement reached by Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo and German counterpart Peter Altmaier in Berlin last year, in which they vowed to bolster cooperation in the energy segment.

Seoul and Berlin will especially focus efforts on cooperating deeper on their shift towards renewable energy, while phasing out nuclear energy…….

The two countries are both making efforts to reduce their coal-based power generation as well, with Germany planning to break away from the resource by 2038. South Korea also vowed to “significantly reduce” its consumption of coal.  https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20200512003700320?fbclid=IwAR1RpCGPA8_id6MKRdp3q4xHlK6-BjaQOf5lbJL5TIhbKP6kHqekyrZmMagcolin@yna.co.kr

May 14, 2020 Posted by | Germany, renewable, South Korea | Leave a comment

Satellite images reveal North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s new nuclear facility

May 11, 2020 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea sticking to its policy of phasing out nuclear power, switching to renewables

Seoul keeps to plan of weaning the country off nuclear fuel, expand renewables to 40%, Pulse,  By Oh Chan-jong and Lee Eun-joo   8 May 20,  South Korea on Friday kept its plan to phase out of nuclear fuel intact despite snowballing losses at state utility firms as the result, with a goal to replace energy sourcing with renewables to 40 percent by 2034 through retiring aged fossil and nuclear powered stations.

According to the ninth long-term plan announced by a working group under the Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy on Friday, the government plans to close all coal-fired power plants whose 30 years of operational years expire by 2034 and replace the fuel with liquefied natural gas (LNG). It will also reduce the number of nuclear power stations to 17 units by 2034 after a peak at 26 units in 2024.

Under the plan, the government will reduce dependence on nuclear and fossil fuel from current 46.3 percent to 24.8 percent by 2034 while expand dependence on renewables from 15.1 percent to 40 percent.

The plan was announced by a working group under the energy ministry that held 51 meetings since March to draw up the country’s basic energy supply plan. The latest announcement is a draft of the 2020-2034 plan that is established once every two years under the electricity enterprises act to stabilize energy supply. …….

Renewable energy will take up 40 percent of total power supply by 2034, up from 15.1 percent. In addition to the closing down of 10 coal-fired plants as announced during the previous roadmap, 14 additional units will shut down by 2030. The government expected to be able to reach its goal announced in July, 2018, to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 32.5 percent by 2030.

May 9, 2020 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea’s government dismissed rumours about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un being gravely ill

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un health rumours dismissed by South Korean intelligence,   ABC News, 27 Apr 20, South Korea’s Government has dismissed rumours that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is in a fragile condition, as speculation about his health intensifies amid the North’s silence on his whereabouts.

Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul told a closed-door forum in Seoul that South Korea had “enough intelligence to confidently say that there are no unusual developments” in rival North Korea that would back up speculation about Mr Kim’s health, his ministry said.

The minister did not reveal what specific intelligence led to that conclusion, but stressed that it was reached after a thorough analysis.

His comments are a reiteration of earlier South Korean statements that Mr Kim appeared to be handling state affairs normally and that no unusual activities had been detected in North Korea.

Those comments, however, failed to dispel the rumours about Mr Kim, partly because past outside intelligence reports on developments in North Korea have sometimes turned out to be wrong. …..

As the absolute leader of a country with a nuclear weapons program, Mr Kim’s health is a matter of intense interest both regionally and globally.

If something were to happen to him, it could lead to instability in North Korea. Mr Kim hasn’t publicly anointed a successor, and that has prompted questions about who would take control of North Korea if he is gravely ill or dies…..

serious unrest could occur if a power struggle erupts between those supporting the Kim dynasty and those who want non-Kim rule……..   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-28/kim-jong-un-health-rumours-south-korea-intelligence/12191504

April 28, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

The Carbon Brief Profile: South Korea

COUNTRY PROFILES 6 April 2020   The Carbon Brief Profile: South Korea, 6 Apr 20, 

As part of its series on how key emitters are responding to climate change, Carbon Brief looks at South Korea’s attempts to balance its high-emitting industries with its “greenaspirations.

Though still dwarfed by those of its neighbours China and Japan, South Korea’s rapid economic expansion over the past few decades has left it with a significant carbon footprint. It was the world’s 13th largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2015…….

 the nation has drawn criticism for not always matching its green-growth rhetoric with action. Proposed phaseouts of coal and nuclear have been prompted primarily by concerns about air pollution and safety,as opposed to climate.

With an election approaching, many environmental groups joined together to call for more action from the major parties, which they claimed have prepared virtually “no countermeasures” against climate change.

In March, a group of Korean youth activists sued the government over its climate framework, which they deemed insufficient to meet the nation’s Paris Agreement targets.

According to a 2019 study by the Pew Research Centre, South Koreans place climate change highest in their list of potential national threats…….. Recent polling suggests 77% of voters would vote for political parties promising to respond to the threat of climate change in the general election……

This year, nations are expected – though not strictly required – under the Paris Agreement to come forward with updated plans that scale up the ambition of their original target. South Korea has yet to indicate whether it intends to meet this expectation. …….

Finally, South Korea is home to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a UN body based in the “international business district” of Songdo, near the north-western city of Incheon. The fund is the main mechanism set up for mobilising $100bn every year “by 2020” from richer countries to finance climate mitigation and adaptation in the developing world…….

‘Green growth’ policies

In keeping with South Korea’s rapid industrialisation over the past few decades, the nation’s approach to climate and energy is best summarised by the principle of “green growth”.

Upon the inauguration of President Lee Myung-bak in 2008, he made it clear his overarching philosophy would be based on clean-energy technologies and environmentally friendly development in order to fuel long-term economic growth. In a speech at the time, he said:

“If we make up our minds before others and take action, we will be able to lead green growth and take the initiative in creating a new civilisation.”

This was reflected in the flagship Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth (pdf), which was passed in 2009 and provided the legislative framework for emissions targets and renewable energy expansion, as well as the basis for a carbon trading system.

A five-year plan implemented the same year saw South Korea commit 2% of its GDP through to 2013 to invest in the green economy, which included investing in renewable energy, smart grids and green homes.

According to the World Bank, this focus on green investment is partly credited with the nation’s early recovery from the global financial crisis…….

there are concerns that this system still does not make it attractive enough for private entities to invest in renewables, with insufficient subsidies for solar and wind while coal is still being incentivised .

Another issue with the current Korean system concerns the electricity grid, with renewable energy facilities facing delays in being connected due to inadequate substations.

The government-owned KEPCO controls the grid and has a monopoly on electricity generation. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified restructuring of KEPCO as a key recommendation for energy reform.

There are also concerns in South Korea that expanding renewable capacity only benefits foreign companies that already dominate these markets. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy issued a press release reassuring people that reports of Chinese companies dominating the Korean solar market were “not true”.

Despite all these issues, the SFOC has identified the “biggest problem” facing renewable expansion as conflicts arising with local communities, when trying to construct new renewable facilities in their vicinity.

Conservatives politicians and news outlets, often with a pro-nuclear slant, have been blamed for “tarnishing” the reputation of renewables by stating that solar projects in particular are the cause of “environmental destruction”. According to SFOC:

“As a result, there is an increasing number of local governments autonomously establishing ordinances and rules restricting the sites for solar PV and wind power.”


Analysis by SFOC
 found that South Korean public financial institutions have provided around $17bn (£13.7bn) of financial support for coal-power projects since 2008, around half of which was for schemes overseas.

The group concludes that without this “easily available financing…such proliferation of coal-fired power plants would not have been possible”.

Another report by Carbon Tracker questions the economic viability of South Korean coal power, identifying the country as having “the highest stranded asset risk in the world” due to market structures which effectively guarantee high returns for coal.

It concludes that South Korea “risks losing the low-carbon technology race” by remaining committed to coal. A newer report from the thinktank says it is already cheaper to invest in new renewables than build new coal in South Korea and it will be cheaper to invest in new renewables than to operate existing coal in 2022. ………

https://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-profile-south-korea

April 7, 2020 Posted by | climate change, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea taking measures to ensure that its Olympic team gets radiation-free food

South Korea team to bring radiation detectors to Tokyo Olympics over ‘contamination fears’, Independent 4 Dec 19,

Committee claim food may be compromised despite lifting of Fukushima-related restrictions, Ju-min Park,

South Korea‘s Olympic committee plans to buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes at the Tokyo Games because of worries local food may be contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japan has posted data to show the country is safe from Fukushima radiation and many countries have lifted Fukushima-related food restrictions.

The Korea Sports & Olympic Committee (Ksoc) plans to ship red pepper paste, a key ingredient in Korean dishes, and other foods, and check for radiation in meat and vegetables that can only be sourced locally due to stringent quarantine rules, a Ksoc meals plan report shows.

Apparently, ingredients and food will be transported from South Korea as much as possible, possibly including canned food,” Shin Dong-keun, a ruling Democratic Party member of the parliamentary sports committee who was recently briefed by Ksoc, told Reuters in an interview.

“For this Olympic games, food is our team’s main focus so they can provide safe meals for the athletes to erase radiation worries, as opposed to in the past, food was meant to play the supplementary role of helping with their morale.”

Ksoc plans to arrange local Korean restaurants to prepare meals for baseball and softball players competing in Fukushima, as shipping boxed lunches from Tokyo is not feasible, it said in the “2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Meals Support Centre Plan”.

“These Korean restaurants should only handle food confirmed as radiation free.”…….

Radiation Hot Spots

Greenpeace said on Wednesday that radiation hot spots have been found at the J-Village sports facility in Fukushima where the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will begin.

South Korea has stepped up demands for a Japanese response to concerns food produced in the Fukushima area and nearby sea could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima plant…….

The official said South Korea was preparing a separate meals plan due to concerns from the public and politicians over food safety, unlike the United States and Australia whose athletes will mainly eat food provided by the host country, Japan.  ……

The South Korean Olympic committee plan to purchase radiation detecting equipment by February and station an inspector at its own cafeteria in Tokyo during the games to check contamination levels, according to the Ksoc report.

The budget for the Tokyo Olympics meals service is earmarked at 1.7 billion won (£1.2bn), which includes twice the amount of money for buying and shipping ingredients than previous games, according to the committee.  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/tokyo-2020-olympics-south-korea-radiation-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-a9232291.html

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Japan, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea’s safety concerns about Fukushima water release

South Korea Nuclear Regulator Wants Information on Radioactive Fukushima Water Release, By Reuters, 20 Nov.   SEOUL — Japan’s reluctance to disclose information about the release of radioactive water from its damaged Fukushima nuclear plant is hampering neighboring countries’ efforts to minimize the impact, the head of South Korea’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday.

Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at some of the reactors the Fukushima plant, owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has been storing radioactive water in tanks at the site from the cooling pipes used to keep the fuel cores from melting. The utility will run out of space for the water in 2022.

Japan has not yet decided how to deal with the contaminated water, but its environment minister said in September that radioactive water would have to be released from the site into the Pacific Ocean.

“We have been raising Japan’s radioactive water issue to the international community to minimize the impact … but as Japan hasn’t disclosed any specific plan and process we would need more details to run simulations and study,” Uhm Jae-sik, chairman of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, told Reuters.

In addition to the Fukushima crisis, safety concerns about nuclear energy have increased in South Korea following a 2012 scandal over the supply of faulty reactors parts with forged documents, prompting a series of shutdowns of nuclear reactors.

South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power, targets a long-term phase out of atomic power to allay public concerns.

“Regardless of the government’s energy policy change, our primary goal is ensuring the safety of nuclear power,” Uhm said.

South Korea operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about a third of the country’s total electricity. Of the 25 reactors, 10 are offline for maintenance, according to the website of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.

(Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Christian Schmollinger) https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/11/20/world/asia/20reuters-southkorea-nuclear.html

November 21, 2019 Posted by | South Korea, water | Leave a comment

Dispute between Japan and South Korea, over radiation levels in Fukushima food exports

September 30, 2019 Posted by | Japan, radiation, South Korea | Leave a comment

Exasperation in South Korea as US-North Korea nuclear talks are failing

US-North Korea nuclear talks are sputtering. South Korea is furious.  “The US position has been really harmful,” said a senior adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.  Vox, By Alex Ward@AlexWardVoxalex.ward@vox.com  Sep 23, 2019,  SEOUL — The Trump administration likes to say that all is going well with its effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons. As long as Pyongyang doesn’t test long-range missiles or the bomb, negotiations remain mostly on track, President Donald Trump consistently claims.

But one country is clearly bristling at America’s management of the North Korea problem: South Korea.

That became immediately clear during my trip to Seoul this week, just days before South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to meet with Trump at the United Nations. After chats with multiple government officials and experts, the sense in the capital is that the US proceeded with its own North Korea agenda without much thought for its staunch ally’s positions.

“We’re not at the negotiating table,” a top South Korean official told me on the condition of anonymity. “That bothers me.”

That’s not only making it harder for Washington to strike a nuclear deal with Pyongyang, these people say, but could also potentially doom Moon’s top project: improving inter-Korean ties……… https://www.vox.com/2019/9/23/20875380/south-korea-north-korea-usa-nuclear-negotiations-moon-unga

September 24, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea might make own food arrangements for Fukushima Olympic events

South Korea concerned over food safety at Olympics with events slated for Fukushima
Talks to take place over food provision at Tokyo Games
Fukushima to host baseball and softball games next year,
Guardian   Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Thu 22 Aug 2019 South Korea is considering making its own arrangements to feed its athletes at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, citing concerns over the safety of food from Fukushima, media reports said.

In addition, South Korean sports authorities have requested that international groups be permitted to monitor radiation levels during the 2020 Games.

Food safety concerns in South Korea have grown since Fukushima city was chosen to host six softball games and one baseball game next summer. Fukushima prefecture will also be the location for the start of the domestic leg of the Olympic torch relay, beginning next March.

Tokyo Olympics organisers said South Korea’s National Olympic Committee had sent a letter expressing concern at the possibility of produce grown in Fukushima prefecture being served to athletes in the Olympic village. ……

Bloomberg reported that the Korea Sport and Olympic Committee is to request international organisations such as Greenpeace be allowed to monitor radiation levels at Olympic venues. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/aug/22/south-korea-concerned-over-food-safety-at-olympics-with-events-slated-for-fukushima

August 24, 2019 Posted by | Japan, South Korea | 2 Comments

South Korean call for import ban on processed foods from Fukushima

Lawmaker calls for import ban on processed foods from Fukushima  http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2019/08/356_274166.html    South Korea should restrict imports of processed foods from Japan’s Fukushima region as radiation has been found in shipments, an opposition lawmaker said Monday.

South Korea banned all seafood imports from eight Japanese prefectures near Fukushima in 2013 on concerns over their radiation levels in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown. But no import restrictions have been put on processed foods from the areas.
Citing data from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Rep. Kim Kwang-soo of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace said radiation has been discovered in 16.8 tons of processed foods imported from the eight prefectures, or 35 shipments, over the past five years.

The figures were 10 tons (11 shipments) in 2014, 0.1 ton (six) in 2015, one ton (six) in 2016, 0.3 ton (four) in 2017, 0.4 ton (six) in 2018 and 5 tons (two) for the first half of this year.

South Korea imported 29,985 tons of processed foods from the Japanese prefectures between 2014 and June this year. Imports, which came to 3,803 tons in 2014, increased to 7,259 tons last year. In the January-June period of this year, imports reached 3,338 tons.

“It is urgent for the government to take necessary action against processed foods from the eight Japanese areas since they pose a serious risk to public health,” the lawmaker said.

No import restrictions have been imposed on the processed foods, though a recent ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) has allowed Seoul to retain the import ban on 28 kinds of fish caught in the eight prefectures, he said.

In response to a complaint from Tokyo, the WTO ruled in April this year that Seoul’s measures do not amount to unfair trade restrictions or arbitrary discrimination.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it sees no problem with imports of processed foods from the eight Japanese prefectures because the Japanese government submits inspection certificates and thorough checks are conducted at local quarantine offices. (Yonhap)

August 20, 2019 Posted by | environment, South Korea | Leave a comment

Breast cancer: a personal story – connection with nuclear radiation is never explored.

contributed by Kitty  6 July 19  My Boobs Were Busy Breastfeeding My Newborn. Then They Turned On Me.”

The lady worked in South Korea. There are 22 beatup old Nuclear Reactors in South Korea, spewing Tritium and other radionuclides into the small country. Not to mention Fukushima. These factors are never considered, when they write articles like about cancer like this. It is anethema to the Nuclear Security State. The story is tragic. The lady’s ongoing tragedy is not fully explored. A toddler, chemo-therapy while pregnant, advanced inflammatory breast cancer. The story is white-wahsed according to the ongoing ignoraing of Nuclear pollution and cancer, in nuclear countries.

Excerpts from
My Boobs Were Busy Breastfeeding My Newborn. Then They Turned On Me.

m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5d1cd4f3e4b0f312567db790

“i was relieved to be able to dismiss my lumps, since I had a very active 2-year-old who I was trying to potty train, an intense full-time job, and was living abroad in Seoul, South Korea, with no family or close friends around other than my husband.”

LATER

Two days later I received a call. The biopsy results were in. It was a metastatic adenocarcinoma. “We think it originated from your breast,” the radiologist said.

“Excuse me,” I asked. “Did you just tell me that I have cancer?” He asked me to come in for a mammogram, but provided no other information. I went into a tailspin. ”

“After receiving my mammogram, the scans came up immediately. I could clearly see a mass in my right breast. This was not a clogged duct. It was breast cancer. How did this happen to me? I wondered. I thought I had done all the right things!”(blaming herself)

AS IF DOING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS MAKES ANY DIFFERENCE NOW THAT 1 IN 8 WOMEN DEVELOP BREAST CANCER

The holistic doctor said the cancer was from having a root canal as a child or, maybe the guilt of having been adopted.
The allopathic doctors, blamed her lactation while pregnant, for the cancer and not catching it. Always blame the victims. Never look at the most carcinogenic substances in the universe that are so abundance in HYPER-NUCLEARIZED industrial states like South Korea, Japan, Russia, France The USA , where there are dozens of radionuclide leaking, reactors in each country.

July 6, 2019 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, South Korea | 1 Comment