Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear industry pressure curtails civil liberties in South Korea

South Korea can’t deny the risks of nuclear power forever
 by Jan Beranek – October 8, 2012 I am at a detention centre at South Korea’s airport, quickly writing these few words as best I can on a mobile phone. Together with my colleague, Dr. Rianne Teule, I have been denied entry to South Korea.

We have done nothing wrong. That is, unless you agree with the government in Seoul that exposing the risks of nuclear power and calling for better protection of people from radiation is wrong.

This is our second visit to South Korea, but this time we were told
that the government would not let us in.

After waiting for hours to fly to Hong Kong we have boarded. From Hong
Kong we go on to Japan where we will continue our investigations into
the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Rianne is an expert in the risks of
nuclear radiation and has led Greenpeace operations to independently
document radiation contamination near the disaster.

We have been denied access to South Korea today even though we have
previously debated the issue of nuclear power here at high-profile
conferences and with the media.

Last week, for example, I joined a seminar on nuclear power at the
South Korean parliament via a videoconference. Parliamentarians,
students and activists attended the event.

I summarised the lessons from the Fukushima disaster that governments
should be learning and, ultimately, addressing. I talked about how the
transformation taking place now in energy technology is accelerating
as the world moves away from risky nuclear reactors to modern, safe,
renewable energy technologies.

This transformation is happening in Germany and Japan, where the
actions and protests of citizens have forced those governments to
change course and phase out nuclear power. We have also begun to see
this change elsewhere.

Globally, investments in renewable energy have dwarfed nuclear
investments by a factor of 20. Here in South Korea, these facts seem
to be inconvenient today.

But instead of denying entry to those who expose the risks of nuclear
energy, South Korea’s government would be better off acting swiftly to
address those risks rather than the actions it took to try and silence
us today.

The South Korean government must act to phase out nuclear power that
threatens the safety of millions and join the world’s leading
economies in switching to a safe and clean future powered by renewable

Rianne and I came here to support the Korean people and won’t be
stopped. The government can’t fly the truth back overseas. Jan Beranek
is Greenpeace International’s energy team lead.

October 10, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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