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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Oct. 12)

2017/10/12 07:07

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An unfair conclusion

President Moon Jae-in stressed that the government has been maintaining fairness and neutrality when it comes to the activities of an independent committee aimed at collecting public opinion about the suspended construction of two nuclear power plants — the Shin Kori 5 and 6 — without any intervention and engagement. Really? As the committee's Oct. 20 deadline for finalizing the public view and presenting it to the government approaches fast, many signs suggest a methodical campaign by the government to stop the construction of the two reactors.

For instance, the government has arbitrarily dismissed the good news that the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power's APR 1400 reactor gained approval for export to Europe. The Korean-type nuclear reactor also passed the tough three-stage screening test of the United States in August, even when its Japanese and French competitors failed the test. But the government chose not to release any press materials regarding this at Tuesday's consultative meeting, presided over by Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Paik Un-gyu, to discuss strategies for South Korea to export the Korean-type reactors.

Despite a ruling Democratic Party lawmaker's effort to downplay the significance of APR 1400’s success in Europe, many nuclear reactor experts countered it by saying he was talking about the level of our technology at the time when the KHNP exported four nuclear reactors to the United Arab Emirates in 2009. Experts say South Korea’s reactor technology is now at an even higher level.

Video footage the government offered to civic groups participating also came under fire. In the clip, there is an argument that a total of 1,368 people were killed by nuclear contamination from the meltdown of the Fukushima reactors. But that goes against the Japanese government's position. Liberal civic groups have kicked off a torch relay from Busan to Seoul to call for the permanent suspension of the construction of Shin Kori 5 and 6 reactors. That's not all. In movie theaters across the country, ahead of the long Chuseok holidays, an environmental group’s promotion of a campaign to end nuclear power plants took the place of KHNP ads.

The liberal media says KHNP suffered 2.25 trillion won ($1.98 billion) in losses over the past five years due to 54 reactor breakdowns. But how many times have solar power plants had to stop at night or wind stations came to a halt due to a lack of wind? If such lopsided logic prevails, we can hardly expect fairness in the committee's final conclusion.

(END)

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