[Kyunghyang Shinmun 2017-10-20] Dismantling NPPs, the most urgent requisite and a Blue Ocean


[Original Korean Article]



translated in Japanese (日本語 翻訳) :



translated in English :

[Lee Won Young’s New Silk Road for Life and No-Nukes] Dismantling NPPs, the most urgent requisite and a Blue Ocean (Kyunghyang Shinmun (20 October 2017))

In the fall of 2014, Martin Brandauer, a young researcher at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) near the Rhine Nuclear Power Station, opened a massive gate at a large laboratory and switched it on. A remote device then begins to peel off the shell of the large metal body. “When dismantling the nuclear power plant, it is possible to reduce the amount of high level waste by stripping off the radioactivity concentrated on the surface.”

Sascha Gentes, a senior professor, explained that companies are also collaborating and training in this lab. He was a scientist majored in safety engineering and went to Taiwan in the past to build a safety device that can withstand earthquakes. In this way, safety engineering workers are also responsible for dismantling the nuclear power plants in Germany.

Last July, I was able to hear the vivid story of the earthquake that hit Taiwan three years ago on my way to the pilgrimage for life and New Silk Road for Life and No-Nukes (LIFEROAD) in Taiwan. Taiwan suffered a massive earthquake of magnitude 7.6 in 1999, and thousands of people were killed in 1999. Last year, after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, 140 people were killed or disappeared. Because of these earthquakes, Taiwan’s decision to decommission its NPPs is receiving a huge public support. In May of this year, I remembered Professor Gentes when I was walking in the southern part of South Korea where there was a great earthquake of 5.0 magnitude. We also experienced the earthquake of magnitude 5.8 in Gyeongju last year.

I remember answering a question from students in Laos last month. “Nuclear weapons can be controlled by humans, but nuclear power plants cannot be controlled.” “It is ‘helpless to earthquake or terrorism”.  Stopping the construction of new NPPs and dismantling and disposing existing NPPs are now the most urgent requisite. And it is also a huge blue ocean. Deloitte, the global accounting firm, said in 2 years ago, “Currently, among 588 nuclear power plants worldwide 150 have been suspended for good. Of these, only 19 were dismantled. The demand for dismantling will increase greatly such as 183 units in the 2020s and 216 units in the 2030s, and the total cost of dismantling would be about 440 trillion won.

Nuclear dismantling technology is a technology with high social added value that leads to safety and security. There is a great deal of interest in the tight implementation of technology.

Dr. Jan Bremmer, of KIT, who came to the Seminar to discuss the preparation of the World Society for Safe Dismantling of NPPS, jointly hosted by Buddhism and Won Buddhism in 2013, said, “First, it takes very long time to dismantle a NPP completely. There are two ways: dismantling immediately or 20 years later, both of which result in a fundamental problem of storing nuclear waste after dismantling. Second, robotic technology is important in a field site full of radioactivity. Third, the process should be subdivided into stages and the highly skilled engineers should be involved in each stage and there should be an oversight organization. “

Therefore, the last government suggested to establish a NPP dismantlement center with big money. However, it was not able to make the decision in time as it could not finalize the preliminary feasibility study, and the plan got lost last year due to a rule about failing to spend the set budget. The value of safety problem cannot accurately calculate. The plan went down the drain because the last government focused on its ‘validity’ based on numbers to save its bureaucratic face.

The direction of the plan was wrong from the beginning. The previous experience is crucial for the dismantlement of NPPS, and we have no one to teach us. The only nations which have proper experience of NPP dismantling and disposal are the United States and Germany. To do it properly, you should bring in experts from these countries. And we should learn from them. ‘People’ should be considered first.

Nuclear energy related schools in South Korea are weak in safety and dismantlement. There are no specialized professors in all nine universities and the curriculum is poor. We have to change this. KIT is a model teacher. The 500 new engineers coming out from it each year are an important asset. As such we can also consider 35,000 existing workers in the nuclear power industry and related fields as assets. The No-Nuke policy includes the conversion of employment structure for these workers.

A basic plan for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants should also be established.

A scenario should be established to ensure peace of mind about the old nuclear power plants. The plan is directly linked to economic effects and security policies at home and abroad. A long-term program must be in place to work with the global market like semiconductor and information technology (IT).

I said to the Laos students: “We started this, but you have to finish this. As this plan will take 100 years of time.”

Lee Won Young, prof. of Suwon National University /

Director, National Land Future Research Institute

 (translated by IM Kyung-bin and PARK Jun-kyu)

Categories: Media Reports

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: