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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

South Korea’s nuclear weapons advocates more vocal since North Korea’s missile test

flag-S-KoreaSouth Korean Nuclear Proponents: Conventional Deterrence is Failing, VOA, Brian Padden, 25 Aug 16   text-relevant Youmi Kim in Seoul contributed to this report. SEOUL — South Korean advocates of nuclear deterrence say the government in Seoul must pursue its own nuclear weapons programs to defend against North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

Song Dae-sung, a political science professor at Kunkuk University in Seoul and author of the book Let’s Have Nuclear Power makes the case for a nuclear armed South Korea. “If North Korea becomes a nuclear-armed state and its adversary does not own nuclear power, then the non-nuclear state becomes a slave or hostage of the nuclear state. This is a basic principle of international politics,” said Song.

National Assembly Representative Won Yoo-chul, a leader within of the ruling Saenuri Party, has also been a strong nuclear advocate.

Won has put together a study group in the parliamentary National Defense Committee to assess the risks and benefits of South Korea pursuing its own nuclear program. “The most efficient way to deter nuclear warfare is to have nukes for our self-defense,” Won has said.

Growing threat

Seoul’s nuclear proponents argue that the international sanctions imposed on North Korea for its fourth nuclear test and most recent long-range rocket launch have so far not deterred Pyongyang……..

Negative consequences

However, South Korean President Park Geun-hye supports the current deterrence and containment regime that involves a close military alliance with the United States and increasing international pressure on the North Korean government.

Opponents of arming South Korea with nuclear weapons say it would unravel the security architecture that has maintained peace in the region for decades.

“Those guys arguing for the possession of nuclear weapons are first, shortsighted, second, they do not understand the negative consequences of that kind of move, and third, that would lead to a nuclear domino on the Korean Peninsula in Northeast Asia,” said Moon Chung-in, a political science professor with Yonsei University.

While some supporters contend that a nuclear South Korea would exert pressure on North Korea or China, opponents argue it would actually dissipate international support for North Korean sanctions.

“Who I think would absolutely be thrilled with such a development would be North Korea, because if the ROK (Republic of Korea) were to pursue its own nuclear deterrence then it would justify everything they have done,” said regional security analyst Daniel Pinkston with Troy University in Seoul.

NPT

The United Nations might also impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on South Korea for developing nuclear weapons in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it signed as a non-nuclear weapons state.

North Korea’s withdraw from the NPT in 2003 is a major justification for the current sanctions in place against it……….

Critics argue that Japan would also likely follow suit and acquire its own nuclear weapons, further increasing regional tensions and the potential for nuclear war in Asia. http://www.voanews.com/a/south-korea-nuclear-proponents-say-conventional-detterence-is-failing/3480128.html

August 27, 2016 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea debates the idea of getting nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea’s military development

South Korea eyes nuclear weapons over North Korea bomb fears, SMH, Peter Hartcher , 9 Aug 16   South Korea will arm itself with nuclear weapons if its rogue neighbour, North Korea, continues to develop the bomb.

This would be a revolutionary step, overturning half a century of opposition to nuclear capability. South Korea has committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “It will become a domino effect and even South Korea will become concerned and develop nuclear weapons, and maybe Japan as well,” according to a senior official in the Seoul government.

“This will all lead to a big security threat,” the director-general for reunification policy in the Ministry of Unification, Lee Duk-haeng, told Fairfax Media……..

The policy of the South Korean government is opposed to the development of nuclear arms, but the matter is now under lively debate as North Korea persists in its illegal plans.

Like other US allies including Japan and Australia, South Korea enjoys the protection of the US nuclear arsenal, so-called extended nuclear deterrent.

But the US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called this into question.

Mr Trump has said that he is prepared to walk away from the long-standing US alliances with Tokyo and Seoul unless they pay more towards the cost of the US bases on their soil.

He has also said that it might not be a bad thing for South Korea and Japan to develop the bomb, directly contradicting half a century of US non-proliferation policy………

Mr Lee called on all regional governments, including Australia’s, to take a “stern” approach to isolate North Korea over its nuclear development.

Australia has taken recent new sanctions against Pyongyang. And the acting Foreign Affairs Minister, George Brandis, this week announced that “Australia stands ready to list additional individuals and entities associated with the regime’s weapons and missile technology activities”.

In February, South Korea responded to the persistent North Korean nuclear development by opening discussions with the US to install an American missile interception system.

China has reacted furiously to Seoul’s decision to deploy the so-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence or THAAD………http://www.smh.com.au/world/south-korea-eyes-nuclear-weapons-over-north-korea-bomb-fears-20160809-gqor8m.html

August 10, 2016 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea in charge of nuclear power system in United Arab Emirates

Buy-Japan's-nukes-2South Korea signs $880 million nuclear reactor staffing deal in UAE  http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2016/07/25/South-Korea-signs-880-million-nuclear-reactor-staffing-deal-in-UAE/9691469456937/  The reactors, still under construction, are Korean-designed and made. By Ed Adamczyk ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, July 25 (UPI) — South Korea will manage four nuclear reactors under construction in the United Arab Emirates, a deal worth an estimated $880 million, officials said Monday.

Cho Seok, CEO of state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, signed an operation support services agreement in a ceremony Monday to run the four Korean-made reactors at Barakah, UAE.

 “Globally, it’s rare that a country has foreigners in charge of operating its nuclear reactors …This may practically be the first time that Korea clinched a business deal of dispatching such large human resources. This will serve as a new chapter in terms of the ties with the Middle East, which have evolved mainly based on the construction businesses since the 1970s,” Cho said, referring to the about 210 workers who will work annually until 2030 in the UAE. The contract marks the first time South Korea will send personnel overseas to manage nuclear reactors.

Construction of the four reactors began in 2009, with the finish of the first scheduled for May 2017. All four are expected to be completed by 2020. At a signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Mohamed al-Hammadi, CEO of the UAE’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp., said, “Over the next decade and beyond, the agreement will continue to build on and enhance the existing long-term nuclear energy partnership between the UAE and South Korea.”

July 27, 2016 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

UK proposal to offer subsidy contracts to Russia, China and South Korea to build nuclear power stations!

Russian-BearBuy-China-nukes-1Buy-S-Korea-nukesflag-UK

Russia, China and South Korea ‘should be invited to build UK nuclear plants’, Telegraph    Emily
Gosden
, energy editor 23 JULY 2016

Russian, Chinese and South Korean nuclear companies should be offered subsidy contracts to build reactors in the UK if they are cheaper than other projects already under development, a prominent nuclear lobbyist has said.

UK-subsidy 2016

Tim Yeo, the former chairman of the House of Commons energy select committee, said EDF’s proposed £18bn plant at Hinkley Point, which is expected to get the go-ahead this week, should be allowed to proceed, but he urged the Government to rethink its approach to future projects.The Japanese-owned Horizon and Franco-Japanese NuGen consortia are both developing plans for reactors at sites in the UK and hope to secure approval for their technologies and subsidy deals from the Government.

Mr Yeo, the MP for South Suffolk for 32 years until the 2015 general election, now chairs New Nuclear Watch Europe, a lobby group whose members include the Korean nuclear firm Kepco. He urged the Government to “urgently examine which nuclear vendors can deliver the cheapest electricity, maximise the number of UK supply chain jobs and minimise the risk of construction delays”………..

Mr Yeo suggested UK investors could be brought on board to operate any such plants to help counter political concerns about the technologies.

He also advocated a new funding approach under which “most of the construction costs are funded by government borrowing throughout the construction period” to help cut financing costs. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/23/russia-china-and-south-korea-should-be-invited-to-build-uk-nucle/

July 25, 2016 Posted by | China, marketing, Russia, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

South Korean nuclear company to staff Emirates nuclear reactors

Buy-S-Korea-nukesHydro & Nuclear staff to operate Abu Dhabi’s Barakah plant, New agreement will see KHNP staff stationed at Barakah until 2030 Gulf Business, By Robert Anderson, 23 July 16 

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has signed an operating support services deal with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power that will see the company dispatch personnel to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant until 2030.

Under the agreement, the Korean firm will provide main control room operators and local operator to support ENEC’s recently launched local operating subsidiary Nawah Energy Company……http://gulfbusiness.com/korea-hydro-nuclear-power-staff-operate-abu-dhabis-barakah-plant/#.V5UxYtJ97Gg

July 25, 2016 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

South Korean nuclear reactor shuts down

Nuclear reactor in S. Korea stops operations , Korea Times, 22 Jul 16, 

A nuclear reactor at South Korea’s power plant stopped operations Friday due to malfunctions in its safety-related system, plant operators said.

The Wolseong-1 reactor at the plant, located in Gyeongju, about 400 km southeast of Seoul, came to a halt at around 11:24 a.m. according to the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP).

No radiation leaks have been reported. The operator said that it is currently working on finding the exact cause of the shutdown….

It is the second time that the 678-megawatt facility has gone offline in the recent two months since it had stopped for two weeks in May due to a defect in its valve system.

The Wolseong-1 reactor had been shut down since 2012 when it reached its 30-year commercial operation period.

But it went back online in June last year after the state-run nuclear watchdog decided to restart operation of the facility for another 10 years.The decision has sparked public concerns over the reactor’s safety here after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan….http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/07/116_210056.html

July 23, 2016 Posted by | incidents, South Korea | Leave a comment

Thousands protest in South Korea against planned deployment of USA anti-missile system

Protest-No!flag-S-KoreaProtests as South Korean president defends US anti-missile system, West Australian, AFP on July 21, 2016, Seoul  Several thousand South Koreans staged an angry protest Thursday against the planned deployment of a US anti-missile system near their hometown, but President Park Geun-Hye insisted the move was a national security imperative.

South Korea’s defence ministry announced last week the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, will be installed in Seongju — a rural county about 200 kilometres (135 miles) southeast of Seoul — by the end of next year.

The decision was predicated on the growing threat posed by North Korea’s advancing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme.

But Seongju residents say the THAAD deployment makes their county a strategic target and complain that it carries health and environmental hazards. “Let’s block the deployment of THAAD, a threat to peace on the Korean peninsula!” chanted some 2,000 protestors, waving flags and banners that read ‘No THAAD’ as they sat outside Seoul station on Thursday.

The protestors were surrounded by hundreds of police, amid concerns of a repetition of a violent standoff last Friday, which saw Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn pelted with eggs and water bottles…….https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/32117538/protests-as-south-korean-president-defends-us-anti-missile-system/#page1

July 22, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Korea | Leave a comment

USA’s THAAD nuclear ‘missile offense’ launchers make South Korea a prime target: protestors revolt

Protest-No!flag-S-KoreaCitizens Revolt in South Korea  http://space4peace.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/citizens-revolt-in-south-korea.html :  15 Jul 16  Yonhap News reports:

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn visited the town of Seongju, which was tapped as the site for the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, on Friday, in the face of strong opposition from the residents who questioned the safety and legitimacy of the government’s decision.

 The trip is seen as a move to alleviate concerns that residents may have about the health issues related to the missile system’s powerful radar and questions raised about the fairness of the government’s decision-making process.

   “I would like to apologize for making the decision without prior notice,” Hwang said during his visit, adding that the government will make efforts to ease residents’ concerns over the safety.

   During his visit, however, protesters threw water bottles and eggs at Hwang, reflecting their anger over the deployment.

   The prime minister was blocked by resentful residents and physically barred from leaving the county for more than six hours.  

There is a real revolt going on in South Korea.  The US is forcing the South Korean government to deploy THAAD ‘missile offense’ launchers and the people know that it makes them a prime target.  Koreans can see the provocative steps the US is taking in the region against China and they know how crazy the leadership in the US actually is.  They’ve been through one war involving the US already and are not interested in another

I’ve long said that the Koreans are the best organizers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.  Right now they have a national campaign underway to resist these THAAD deployments that are aimed at China even though the Pentagon tells everyone they are intended for North Korea.  It’s the same shell game the US does with the missile offense deployments now going into Romania, Poland, and Turkey – all aimed at Russia.  The US says they are aimed at Iran who actually has no nuclear weapons.

The shine has come off the American coin and the world ain’t buy the script anymore.  Sadly there is still half the population in the US that believes the official Washington line (including many ‘liberals’ who support Hillary Clinton).

The world is turning against corporate control of the planet.  We are in for a rough patch ahead.  The story today about a coup d’etat in Turkey indicates the CIA’s operatives in the Turkish military took down President Erdogan because in recent days he apologized to Russia for shooting down their plane and began to alter his war with Syria.  My initial reaction is that US-NATO were not happy with that change of tune and decided to take him out.  More on that one as things develop.

July 16, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics international, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea’s nuclear waste dilemma: will have to build waste dump

flag-S-KoreaSouth Korea looks to build used fuel store http://www.neimagazine.com/news/newssouth-korea-looks-to-build-used-fuel-store-4907688  30 May 2016 South Korea will select a site for an underground storage facility to permanently dispose used nuclear fuel, or high-level radioactive waste, by 2028 and complete the construction of the facility by 2053, according to the first roadmap for the project released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on 25 May.

“A further delay in building the facility will put a drag on future generations, considering the saturation level of interim storage units located in the nuclear power complexes nationwide, ” Chae Hee-bong, the ministry’s energy policy director, told a press briefing.

Korea has 24 nuclear power units which produce more than 700t of used nuclear fuel annually. According to ministry data, the first used fuel storage unit to become full will be at the Wolsong NPP in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, in 2019.
wastes garbage

Korea has no other choice than storage as it is strictly banned from reprocessing under a 1973 treaty with the USA. The government has been trying to find a site for the wastes since 1983, but has failed nine times because of local protests. The government said the country is running out of storage units.

To minimize public resistance in the course of a site selection, the ministry will adopt an open competition among geologically qualified sites. It will launch an independent committee to lead the site selection next year, following an approval by the National Assembly on the roadmap in the latter part of this year. The roadmap will be updated in five years embracing changing external conditions, the ministry added.

The ministry’s ‘road map’ is based on recommendations from the Public Engagement Commission, an independent advisory group set up in 2013. The ministry will hold a public hearing next month, followed by an inter-agency meeting chaired by the prime minister in July.

Park Dong-il, director of the nuclear power environment division at the ministry said: “It will take about 12 years to select the location and we will hear what they want to receive from the government and make deals during this period,” said. He added that the government will decide what kind of benefits or incentives to give to areas that want to build storage facilities.

According to the ministry, it will take the government about eight years to select the site and get feedback from local residents, and another four years to investigate the geological chracteristics of the site. The project was expected to cost some KRW53,000bn ($44.8bn) in 2013 but a government official said it is now looking at an estimated cost of KRW63,000bn.

Meanwhile, the Korean government opened its first low-and intermediate-level radioactive waste facility in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang, last year. The government wanted to build a high-level facility there but faced opposition from residents.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan and South Korea lean towards getting nuclear weapons

Atomic-Bomb-SmJapan and South Korea May Soon Go Nuclear http://www.wsj.com/articles/japan-and-south-korea-may-soon-go-nuclear-1462738914 The longtime status quo is crumbling and plutonium stockpiles are risingHENRY SOKOLSKI May 8, 2016

On Friday North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un praised his country’s recent hydrogen bomb test and satellite launch as “unprecedented” achievements that will “bring the final victory of the revolution.” Such rhetoric is nothing new, but North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program and a growing sense that security arrangements with the U.S. aren’t sufficient has eroded the Japanese taboo against nuclear weapons. On April 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet announcedthat Japan’s constitution did not ban his country from having or using nuclear arms.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s ruling-party leaders have urged President Park Geun-hye to stockpile “peaceful” plutonium as a military hedge against its neighbors. A Feb. 19 article in Seoul’s leading conservative daily, the Chosun Ilbo, went so far as to detail how South Korea could use its existing civilian nuclear facilities to build a bomb in 18 months.

Japan and South Korea are party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and Tokyo’s antinuclear-weapons stance dates to 1945 and the nuclear devastation the U.S. wreaked on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But that won’t necessarily stop either country from joining the nuclear club—or at least positioning themselves to do so quickly—if they feel the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” is folding.

Japan already has stockpiled 11 tons of plutonium, separated from fuel used in its nuclear-power reactors. A bomb requires roughly five kilograms (or 1/200th of a ton). The old shibboleth, popular with the nuclear industry, that such “reactor-grade” plutonium is unsuitable for weapons, is essentially irrelevant for a technologically advanced country. Japan also has built—but not operated—a large reprocessing plant of French design that can separate about eight tons of plutonium a year.

The shutdown of Japan’s power reactors following the 2011 Fukushima disaster means there are no reactors online that can use this plutonium. But Japan says it will proceed with reprocessing anyway, putatively to keep open the distant possibility of fueling a new generation of so-called fast-breeder reactors. Japan’s nuclear cooperation agreement with Washington allows it to do this with U.S.-origin fuel. South Korea’s agreement prohibits this without U.S. approval, something Seoul chafes at. It sees itself the equal of Japan. Should Japan operate Rokkasho, as it plans to do late in 2018, it will be impossible politically to restrain South Korea from following suit.

China, meanwhile, is negotiating with France to build a reprocessing plant similar to Japan’s. One might discount the security significance of this; Beijing already has nuclear weapons. But a large reprocessing plant would allow it to expand its nuclear arsenal far beyond its present size. The Chinese are clearly aware of the military significance of nominally civilian plutonium. Consider their loud and repeated complaints about Japan’s plutonium stocks.

The Asian goal of stockpiling plutonium to launch a new generation of plutonium-fueled fast-breeder reactors is one shared with nuclear enthusiasts in the West. But fast reactors are so much more expensive than conventional uranium-burning reactors that they, and the reprocessing of spent fuel they require, have never made economic sense. In Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing there are government officials and advisers who understand this and the security risks of commercializing plutonium. But their concerns have been trumped by nationalistic demands not to fall behind in plutonium technology.

The obvious fix, which would be economically beneficial for Japan, South Korea and China, is a collective pause in the rush toward civil plutonium. For the U.S. to credibly broker this, Capitol Hill needs to support the Energy Department’s February decision to terminate the construction in South Carolina of a plutonium plant designed to fuel U.S. power reactors that is billions over budget and years behind schedule.

An Asian-U.S. plutonium pause has support within the administration and Congress. Energy Secretary Ernest Monizrecently told the Journal’s Beijing office: “We don’t support large-scale reprocessing.” He said a large commercial Chinese reprocessing plant “certainly isn’t a positive in terms of nonproliferation.”

At a March hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sens.Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Ed Markey (D., Mass.), both backed a “time out” on East Asian plutonium recycling. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman agreed: “I would be very happy to see all countries get out of the plutonium reprocessing business.” In the House a plutonium timeout has been championed by Reps. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.), Jeff Fortenberry (R., Neb.) and Adam Schiff (D., Calif.).

They understand that a collective plutonium timeout would calm East Asia and save our Asian allies, China and the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars. President Obama, with less than a year in office to make a lasting contribution to nuclear nonproliferation, should feel comfortable backing this proposal.

Mr. Sokolski is the executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and the author of “Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future” (Strategic Studies Institute, 2016).

May 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cities can thrive nuclear free – Seoul shows the way

Seoul’s success provides testimony that a nuclear free energy supply can be a reality for a densely populated city, through innovative measures in terms of policy making and public land use.

Seoul’s initiative shows that it is possible to mobilise communities within a short period of time and achieve significant results. It demonstrates that even one city can fulfill the vision of energy self-reliance.

text-Noflag-S-KoreaCan Hong Kong become nuclear-free? https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/03/11/can-hong-kong-become-nuclear-free/ 11 March 2016 10:27  Greenpeace By Frances Yeung, Greenpeace Senior Campaigner 

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and with it, five years of struggle by Japan to improve energy efficiency as it strives to go nuclear-free. As the repercussions of Fukushima were felt around the world, making governments and communities re-evaluate their dependency on nuclear power, here in Hong Kong we’ve spent the past five years stuck in the same nuclear debate. Nuclear-free naysayers continue think going nuclear-free in Hong Kong is meaningless if the Chinese government is pro-nuclear in its energy policy.

To those who have thrown up their hands and turned their backs on safe, sustainable energy solutions, I urge them to look to Seoul and the solution one city government successfully rolled out in opposition to national energy interests. South Korea’s central government actively develops nuclear power, yet the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has been exploring a sustainable energy solution as a nuclear alternative since the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

To better understand South Korea’s reliance on nuclear energy one must only look at the numbers. There are 25 reactors in South Korea supplying 30 per cent of the country’s demand; and the government is planning to build 14 more in the next 20 years, arguing that it is necessary in order to meet growing power consumption. To encourage and promote a nuclear-free environment after the Fukushima disaster, Seoul citizens initiated energy-saving campaigns in their communities. That same year, , a human rights lawyer and an independent candidate, became mayor of Seoul, winning against the ruling party’s campaign. Shortly after taking office, Park and the SMG pushed forward the ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant’ initiative, opposing the national government’s policy. It is important to note that Seoul accounts for 10 per cent of national nuclear energy consumption.

The first phase of ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant’ was implemented in 2012 and ran through 2014, to boost renewables production in Seoul and achieve energy conservation of 2 million TOE (tonnes of oil equivalent), an amount equal to the average annual electricity production of one nuclear plant. The goal was achieved six months ahead of schedule. During the three-year implementation of the first phase of the initiative, the overall electricity consumption in South Korea rose by 5%, even as it dropped by 4% in Seoul. The SMG, led by Park, then launched the second phase, to reduce energy consumption by a further 4 million TOE by 2020.

Seoul’s success shows that energy conservation and renewable electricity production can replace nuclear power while meeting energy demand. Regardless of these results, the South Korean government continues to build new reactors to meet the “continued increase in national electricity demand”.

Seoul’s anti-nuclear policy has created interest both at home and abroad. The heads of local governments from Seoul, Gyeonggi, and Jeju released a joint statement in November to reaffirm their commitment to stepping up the development of renewable energy. At the same time, Taiwan’s newly-elected president, Tsai Ing-wen, announced last year that the nation’s Democratic Progressive Party would initiate a similar plan in the cities and counties it governs.

Seoul’s initiative shows that it is possible to mobilise communities within a short period of time and achieve significant results. It demonstrates that even one city can fulfill the vision of energy self-reliance. The SMG launched 23 measures and 71 programmes over three years including offering vacant public space to businesses and community groups at low rents to build solar power stations; introducing the Energy Self-reliant Community movement to provide funds to residents to promote energy efficiency and installing small renewable energy facilities; and cooperating with enterprises to assist property owners to improve energy efficiency in buildings, by means of LED lights, insulated windows, and other energy-saving equipment, as well as low-interest government loans.

Seoul’s success provides testimony that a nuclear free energy supply can be a reality for a densely populated city, through innovative measures in terms of policy making and public land use. For instance, the SMG installed steel structures in water treatment plants to support solar panels on top of water pools. It also implemented the Eco-Mileage programme in which citizens who save energy can receive mileage points for buying eco-friendly products, cinema tickets, and recharging transportation cards. So far, 42% of the city’s households (1.48 million) have taken part in the programme.

As we mourn the Fukushima disaster we also note that the Hong Kong government has shirked its responsibility to create a proactive renewable energy strategy and chosen  instead to highlight land issues and cost effectiveness. We have an immediate opportunity, however, since the electricity supply contract with the Daya Bay nuclear plant ends in 2034.  The plant will have been operating for over 40 years and will reach the end of the average lifespan of a nuclear plant by then. The plant should be closed for the sake of safety.

We can also make great strides towards nuclear free safety by carrying out the Hong Kong government’s plan to replace coal with natural gas. Along with reducing electricity use by 20% in the coming 20 years and boosting renewable energy use to 10%, Greenpeace calculates that a halt in the use of nuclear energy is achievable.

When he met with Greenpeace, Seoul mayor Park Won-soon said firmly that nuclear power is far from safe and is expensive, especially in regard to the cost of nuclear waste disposal. The underlying stance of ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant’ might differ from the energy policy of the South Korean government, yet he suggested that it is the responsibility of the city government to reduce the use of nuclear power to safeguard the wellbeing of its citizens. Hong Kong enjoys no lesser degree of autonomy than Seoul in energy policy making. As long as the government is willing to step outside of its comfort zone and take action on behalf of its communities, a nuclear free Hong Kong will immediately become a real and vivid possibility.

March 12, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Korea | Leave a comment

S. Korea rejects calls for nuclear armament

 

flag-S-Korea

South Korea on Tuesday rejected public calls for the country’s own nuclear armament, saying it remains firmly committed to the global nonproliferation regime. – Korea Times, 23 Feb 16

 

February 25, 2016 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pyongyang orders South Koreans out of Kaesong, labels closure of industrial zone ‘declaration of war’

North Korea says it is kicking out all South Koreans from the jointly run Kaesong industrial zone and freezing the assets of companies operating there, calling the South’s move to suspend operations a “declaration of war”…….
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-11/north-korea-says-south-kaesong-withdrawl-declaration-of-war/7161700

 

February 13, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea’s President Park under pressure from nuclear weapons lobby

Pressure For South Korea To ‘Go Nuclear’ For Defense Against North’s Arsenal, Forbes, Donald Kirk , CONTRIBUTOR , 4 Feb 16 

North Korea’s success in conducting a fourth nuclear test has ignited calls for South Korea also to produce nuclear warheads as a “defensive” measure that could heighten the balance of terror that already threatens the Korean peninsula.

South Korean nuclear physicists and engineers have been tinkering with developing nuclear warheads since 1970 but have been frustrated by U.S. insistence that the South abide by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which the South signed under U.S. pressure in 1975.  The most they can do, under a deal reached with the U.S. last year, is to enrich uranium up to 20% — way above the 4% level for nuclear energy but far below the level for nuclear warheads……..

Calls for South Korea to develop a nuclear arsenal are heard in public, in the media and in political gatherings. The conservative Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s biggest-selling newspaper, articulated the argument in an editorial reflecting the widespread view that China will do nothing to stop North Korea from exploding more warheads and firing more missiles – and that sanctions against the North will be weak and ineffective……..

At the same time, South Korea would have to abrogate the agreement signed by both Koreas in 1991 for denuclearizing the Korean peninsula – a deal that the North violated from the outset.

‘The U.S. has passed the buck for taming North Korea to China,’ said Chosun Ilbo. “China is doing nothing. Seoul now faces a real need for public discussion of the development of its own nuclear weapons.”

GlobalSecurity.org, a website that specializes in such issues, traced South Korea’s recurring interest in developing its own nukes back to the presidency of Park Chung-hee, father of the current president, Park Geun-hye……..

The current President Park has said her government will abide by the 1991 denuclearization agreement, but she faces rising demands at least for a review of longstanding policy……http://www.forbes.com/sites/donaldkirk/2016/02/04/pressure-mounts-in-south-korea-for-its-own-nukes-to-combat-north-koreas-nuclear-arsenal/#3e42677c345f

February 5, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Simulated pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea in the planning?

exclamation-Flag-USAflag-S-KoreaUS and South Korea plan simulated nuclear strike on North Korea http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/12099482/US-and-South-Korea-plan-simulated-nuclear-strike-on-North-Korea.htmlUpdated plans would help them prepare their defenses against a potential nuclear strike from Pyongyang By Julian Ryall, Tokyo.  14 Jan 2016

 South Korea and the US are considering a military exercise that would simulate a pre-emptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

In November, the two governments agreed upon an updated set of plans to defend South Korea from missile, nuclear, chemical and biological threats. Known as the 4D Operational Concept, the plans are designed to detect, disrupt, destroy and defend the South from threats posed by the North.

The additional capability would be on top of the military hardware that South Korea has asked its closest security partner to provide.

In the wake of Pyongyang’s fourth underground nuclear test on January 6, however, Seoul and Washington are examining the possibility of conducting manoeuvers to extend the reach of the plan, the Chosun Ilbo reported on Thursday. The two countries are discussing ways to reflect parts of the 4D concept during the joint annual exercises in March and then to develop it as a full scale operational system”, an official of the defence ministry in Seoul told the newspaper.

Analysts say the two governments – along with others in the region – will have drawn up contingency plans for a number of possible scenarios on the Korean peninsula, including indications of an imminent nuclear strike, an invasion of the South with conventional forces or the collapse of Kim Jong-un’s regime.

One situation that military planners are particularly concerned about would be the current regime imploding but a number of factions – potentially armed with nuclear or other non-conventional weapons – jostling for power.

“North Korean assets that are capable of waging nuclear war will obviously be of the highest priority”, Lance Gatling, a defence analyst and president of Nexial Research Inc., told the Telegraph.

“These will be the mobile launch tractors that the North has for its tactical medium-range ballistic missiles, which can reach targets in South Korea and Japan”, he said.

“They will also be targeting the openings to underground facilities where weapons are stored in preparation for launch, although it can be very difficult to find all these sites”.

The US has said it will “not accept North Korea as a nuclear armed state”.

Pyongyang has in the past condemned joint US-South Korean military exercises as provocation and preparations for an invasion of the North. It is likely to react angrily to suggestions that its perceived enemies are preparing a first-strike capability.

January 15, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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