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Facility for nuclear waste via The Korean Times

Earlier, we urged the United States to grant South Korea authority to reprocess its own nuclear fuel rods in consideration of the ever worsening space problem for nuclear waste. Most recently, the Korean government has reportedly given up persuading the U.S. with regard to the issue of renewing their bilateral nuclear treaty that expires in March 2014.

Once again, we emphasize the urgent need for the U.S. to let South Korea reprocess its fuel rods.

True, it’s deplorable that past governments have been negligent in choosing the venue for spent nuclear fuel. The Roh Moo-hyun administration gave up its bid to build a combined storage facility for low-, medium- and high-level radioactive materials after being burned because of tough protests in Buan, North Jeolla Province, in 2003. Instead, Gyeongju, North Gyengsang Province, was chosen as the venue that would stockpile only medium- and low-level materials in 2005 after residents consented to the proposal.

As far as the storage site is concerned, the Lee Myung-bak administration also deserves harsh criticism in that it belatedly set in motion the highly sensitive issue with less than seven months remaining before the end of its term.

As things stand, the nation can’t afford to postpone selecting the storage location. The government should start the process as soon as possible. If not, it could spell a disaster for the country as a whole.

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