New nuclear plants face public backlash via The Korea Herald

Civic groups, environmentalists, residents stage protests, voicing safety concerns

The government’s plan to install new nuclear reactors in the country’s eastern shore faces stiff opposition from residents, stoking safety concerns in the aftermath of a Japanese disaster.

Last week, the government picked two candidate sites for nuclear power plants –Yeongdeok in North Gyeongsang Province and Samcheok in Gangwon Province. The decision will be finalized by late next year after on-site inspections and environmental surveys.

The announcement comes as part of Korea’s plan to shake off its dependence on energy imports and cope with spiraling demand for electricity. It aims to jack up the share of nuclear energy to 40 percent of the nation’s power grid from the current 30 percent by 2030.

On Monday, civic groups, religious organizations, environmentalists and residents staged a mass rally in downtown Seoul and the two regions, calling to scrap the country’s atomic energy policy.

“The government’s latest site selection completely neglects a global anti-nuclear trend that has been reigning supreme since the Fukushima meltdown in March,” Green Korea United, one of the country’s major environmental groups, said in a statement.

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