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[집중취재M] “Storage of spent nuclear fuel rods in nuclear power plants”…Resistance from local residents

◀ anchor ▶

The government’s plan to store high-level waste with higher-than-normal radioactivity levels inside the nuclear power plant site has been confirmed.

In this way, a radioactive waste treatment plant will be created in each area where there is a nuclear power plant.

The government describes it as “a matter of responsibility for the future,” but the local area protests, saying, “Why do we have to assume that responsibility?”

First, reporter Yoon Pa-ran reports.

◀ Report ▶

High-level nuclear waste such as nuclear fuel rods will be stored for a ‘temporarily’ long-term at the site of the nuclear power plant.

This is the second basic plan for high-level radioactive waste management confirmed by the government.

[김부겸/국무총리(제10회 원자력진흥위원회)]

“Having spent fuel management in place is a matter of responsibility for future generations and cannot be left behind.”

Accordingly, high-level radioactive waste storage facilities will be temporarily built in five regions across the country, including Gijang in Busan and Ulju in Ulsan, Gyeongju and Uljin in Gyeongbuk, and Yeonggwang in Jeollanam-do, which are currently operating nuclear power plants.

It is said that the spent nuclear fuel accumulated in the nuclear power plant’s tank will be stored for at least 37 years on the site of the nuclear power plant until an intermediate storage facility for high-level waste is built.

As the basic plan was confirmed as it is 20 days after the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy gave an administrative notice, protests erupted immediately.

[최선수/고리민간환경감시센터장]

“Because we don’t know what it will be like for 50 years or 100 years because it is stored on site in the form of temporary storage…”

In addition to nuclear power plants, regions that have taken on the additional risk of nuclear waste are no longer acceptable.

[이상홍/경주환경운동연합 사무국장]

“In the name of ‘on-site storage facility’, the management master plan continues to hand over nuclear waste to the residents of nuclear power plants…”

The heads of local governments in the nuclear power plant area also took a joint response saying that the plan that did not fully reflect the local opinions could not be implemented.

[박형준/부산시장]

“It has resulted in the igniting of the conflict, and it has created obstacles rather than a solution to the problem with regard to high-level waste (permanent) disposal.”

The ruling party is also pushing for a special law on waste disposal, which contains detailed implementation plans for the construction of a high-level waste disposal site, but not only civil society but also local politicians are opposed to it, so the process is not expected to be smooth.

This is Yoon Paran from MBC News.

Video coverage: Lee Seong-wook, Lee Kyung-soo (Busan)

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