South Korea is running out of space to store its spent nuclear fuel, with some of its storage facilities set to reach capacity by 2016, according to an independent body that advises the government on nuclear issues.
A Public Engagement Commission, consisting of nuclear experts, professors, and officials, was set up in October 2013 to take account of public opinion on spent nuclear fuel issues and feed into policy decisions.
Commission chairman Hong Doo-seung says it is urgent to find more storage sites for spent fuel.
“We will have to stop nuclear power generation if we fail to find additional temporary space, which would be the second-best option,” he said.
Public opposition to nuclear power and questions surrounding the disposal of spent fuel have also increased after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in neighbouring Japan caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Work on a permanent disposal site for low to medium-level radioactive waste was completed in the city of Gyeongju, 250 km southeast of Seoul, in June.
However the government has delayed its start-up for six months pending approval by a nuclear watchdog.
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