Greenpeace, KFEM call for shutdown of 33-year old Kori nuclear reactor

Press release - 2011-06-17
Greenpeace and the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) today called for the immediate closure of Korea's oldest nuclear reactor, the Kori 1, citing citizen concerns about its safety. The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior sailed near the Kori nuclear plant with a large banner calling for a "Nuclear-Free Korea".

Beginning operations in 1978, the Kori 1 reactor was given an extension of 10 more years starting in 2007 in spite of the enormous risks associated with aging reactors. The Fukushima Daiichi 1 reactor was also given a 10-year extension for the oldest of its six reactors, despite warnings about its safety, before the fateful earthquake struck.

"The Korean government must end this dangerous nuclear gamble by phasing out nuclear power plants in the country. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima should be enough to spur the shut down of these very old reactors and the phase out of remaining ones," said Harri Lammi, nuclear expert from Greenpeace East Asia. "Korea has enough technological knowledge to leapfrog into clean renewable energy and provide a very safe future for the country."

Besides the five operational reactors, Kori has three more under construction and are being planned – which, if completed, would make this the area with highest reactor density in Korea.

Greenpeace announced that it will commission research on renewable energy alternatives in Korea. In the past few years, the Greenpeace Energy Revolution Scenario has provided a blueprint to countries around the world for phasing out coal and nuclear and replacing them with safe, clean renewable energy.

"Every Korean citizen deserves a better future. We need assurance that another Fukushima cannot happen in our country. We will only feel safe if nuclear plants have all been phased out and our energy comes from renewable energy sources. Until such time comes, we will continue our opposition against new construction of nuclear reactors," said Kim Hye Jeong, Executive Director, KFEM Task Force on Japan Nuclear Accident.

Korea currently operates 21 nuclear reactors that are concentrated in four sites. In addition, seven new reactors are currently being constructed and a further six proposed reactors have already passed approval for construction. According to Greenpeace, Korea is moving against the global backlash against nuclear. After the Fukushima disaster, Germany, Switzerland and Italy have all decided to phase out nukes, while several other countries have halted their nuclear plans.

The Rainbow Warrior is currently sailing around Korea on its "Nuclear-Free Korea" campaign, visiting communities around nuclear plants, including candidate sites, and showing solidarity for communities living under the constant threat of a nuclear meltdown. The ship has just come from Fukushima, where it bore witness to the horrors of the nuclear disaster and conducted testing for radioactivity in the ocean. The ship is now sounding the alarm that a nuclear incident has wide-ranging impacts to people, the environment and the economy. KFEM has joined the campaign, organizing forums amongst local communities who have concerns about nuclear energy.

Greenpeace is one of the most influential environmental organizations in the world with 41 offices across Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Pacific. Currently celebrating its 40th founding anniversary, Greenpeace recently inaugurated its Seoul office that will introduce campaigns on climate and energy as well as protection of our oceans.

MEDIA CONTACTS

  • Harri Lammi, Nuclear Energy, Greenpeace East Asia, +82 1080717351
  • Kim Hye Jeong, Executive Director, KFEM Task Force on Japan Nuclear Accident, +82 1054131260
  • Jun Kwon Song, Greenpeace Ship Tour Coordinator, +82 1095561351
  • Arthur Jones Dionio, Greenpeace Communications, +82 1080717351

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Follow the Rainbow Warrior "Nuclear-Free Korea" campaign on
www.facebook.com/greenpeace.kr

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