Kim Ji-hyung(Right), head of civilian-led committee
The civilian-led committee that will study the feasibility of the South Korean government’s earlier decision to stop the construction of the two nuclear reactors whose construction is already 30 percent underway kicked off its three-month public assessment process on Monday.
The launch of the nine-member committee comes after the country’s new government under President Moon Jae-in announced last month to suspend the construction of the two reactors as part of its policy to wean Korea off nuclear power, which is currently responsible for a third of electricity supply in the country, by 2040.
Following the announcement, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corp. (KHNP), which operates the country’s nuclear power plants, endorsed the government’s plan to suspend construction of the two new nuclear reactors Shin Kori 5 and 6 for three month. Nearly 30 percent of the construction of the two reactors that was estimated to cost $7.5 billion has been completed so far.
The Korean new government’s decision is, however, considered hasty, prompting strong criticism from the workers at the construction sites, industry and scholars at home and abroad.
The committee will hear public opinion to study the feasibility of the plan to stop the construction of Shin Kori 5 and 6 before disbanding on October 21. It will select citizen jurors who will make a final decision on whether the construction should be permanently halted. The country’s oldest Kori 1 reactor was already permanently decommissioned.
The civilian-led committee is headed by Kim Ji-hyung, former justice of the Supreme Court who is one of the representing lawyers at local law firm Jipyong. Kim is well-known for his liberal-led ruling as a Supreme Court justice.
The other eight members are from various industry areas including humanities and social sector, science and technology, statistical survey, and conflict management. Nuclear experts were not included as members of the committee.
Following the launch of the committee, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said it has formed a taskforce team that will check if safety of Shin Kori 5 and 6 is being well-maintained and looked after by the nuclear reactor operator KHNP while the reactors are temporarily halted during the three-month deliberation period.
By Ko Jae-man
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]