Australian news, and some related international items

A South Korean plea to close down nuclear power


flag-S-KoreaPlease leave without a trace,

By Kim Sun-ae
The nights in cities are too bright. When I recently passed by a shopping arcade at night, the lights of each building were blinding. I couldn’t help thinking of how that electricity was made and where it comes from.

Korea produces about 70 percent of its total electricity through thermal power generation, and about 30 percent through nuclear power generation. Nuclear power has emerged as a big social issue since the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. The nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and other places have shown that nuclear power stations are not safe.

Just as all the old nuclear power plants in Fukushima exploded, decrepit power stations have a higher risk of accidents. Therefore, nuclear power plants that reach the end of their lifespan must be closed. Also, new nuclear power stations should not be built.

With this, the government needs to actively support the development of renewable energy including solar power generation. Korea can make electricity with its abundant solar energy.

In Gyeongju, a radioactive waste disposal facility was constructed to store low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste. Nevertheless, according to Professor Kim Ik-jung’s book, “Korea Beyond Nuclear,” the bedrock of this underground facility is not solid and much groundwater flows near there, so the nuclear waste stored there will sink underwater eventually. In this case, radioactive matter can spread to the East Sea through the groundwater and threaten numerous people’s health. The safety of the Gyeongju radioactive waste disposal facility should strongly be secured to prevent a radiation leak.

On a trip to Gyeongju, I saw a phrase written in front of the Seokguram Grotto ― “Please leave without a trace.” But we are leaving too many traces in our short lives on our planet. Our ancestors passed on to us beautiful rivers and mountains and a rich cultural heritage including Hangeul (the Korean symbol set) and Seokguram. Nonetheless, what are we leaving future generations? Aren’t we leaving out-of-hand nuclear waste?

We cannot delay action any longer. Many nuclear power plants are concentrated in Korea’s small territory. So a nuclear accident would cause damage to all the people. If radioactive substances from a power plant pollute the soil and seas, it is difficult for anyone to live healthily. Therefore, it is urgent for citizens to join efforts and free our nation of nuclear power.

We can achieve this goal. Of course it will take time. But it is important to set a right goal and go in its direction steadily and consistently.

People who live near nuclear power stations are suffering due to the high incidence of various cancers. Transmission towers are built in rural villages between power plants and large cities to supply electricity to the cities and the residents near the power lines suffer because of electromagnetic waves. Moreover, farmers lose their precious land where they have farmed all their lives because of so-called “progress.”

Stopping nuclear power stations means turning from the life of running, not knowing where we are heading, into the life of walking, looking around. Now, let’s stop and look back at the path we have followed. Let’s look around and look ahead. And let’s walk hand in hand, feeling the sunshine and wind, smiling.

The writer translates writings about agriculture and rural communities. Her blog address is


May 11, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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