[Kyunghyang Shinmun 2017-10-28] “Oh my God! Nuclear Power Plants are fatally unprepared!”


[original text]


translated in Japanese (日本語 翻訳) :



translated in English :

 [Life & No-Nuke Silk Road by Lee Won-Young] “Oh my God! Nuclear Power Plants are fatally unprepared!”


“Oh my God! Nuclear Power Plants are fatally unprepared!” It was spring time in 2012. I was looking around Wolseong Nuclear Power Plant at Kyeongjoo with German professor Dr. Wolf Schluchter who was an expert in nuclear waste management. As soon as he arrived at the nuclear power plant site, he exclaimed in astonishment. The plant site was so close to the people living nearby that it could have never been approved in Germany. The approximation implies that the site is easily exposed to terrorist attack. The distance between the plant and the civilians was so close that he was deeply worried about terrorist attack which is beyond control.

About two years ago, I was waiting for the train at Kangnam subway station, with a knapsack engraved ‘No More Nukes’. A man with a cap engraved ‘Special Force’ approached me and asked,

“If you abandon nuclear power plants, how do you get electricity?”

Though the question was abrupt, it was worth answering. So I tried to give a serious response.

“We have 24 nuclear power plants but we get only 30% of total electricity from nuclear source. Usually the average percentage is about 25%. But as you see, we have more than enough electricity these days.”

A moment of silence has elapsed. I continued to say,

“Japan used to have 52 nuclear plants. After the Fukushima disaster, all nuclear power plants were stopped for three years, but Japan suffered no problem. The standby generators stocked in factories and buildings started to supply electricity. The standby generators are as well stocked among us as in Japan. We are prepared to cope with emergency situation.”


“As you know, if North Korea shoots a traditional missile to one of the nuclear power plants anywhere in the south, the result would be catastrophic like nuclear bombing. There exists a loophole in the national security system. North Korea has 24 targets easy to aim which are clustered at Gori of Busan City, and Wolseong of Kyeongjoo City. But we have only one target. I suppose the man of special force like you have lucid security thinking. Don’t you think that the security thinking of the supporters of nuclear power plants is absurd?”


I got off the train when I arrived at destination. I wonder whether he changed his opinion about nuclear power plants now.

Around the same time of ‘special force’ man, I had a discussion with an elderly man. He was a conservative figure in terms of common classification. He said, “Nevertheless, don’t you think we must believe in what the government stresses?”

I replied, “I suppose you experienced the refuge during the Korean war. You were able to start again then after you returned home. But in case of a nuclear disaster, there is no starting again. The soil would be so badly contaminated by radiation that you can’t restart agriculture again.”


“Nuclear explosions that happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused radiation into the air in addition to many instant casualties. The nuclear accidents which took place at Chernobyl and Fukushima were not explosions, but emitted much more radiation. Moreover, the radiation was also accumulated in soil and water. The radiation contamination made the soil inarable. Without agriculture we must abandon our country.”

Finally he nodded.

Additional danger generated by nuclear power plant is the problem of nuclear waste. The people living in Buan have already realized the danger. But the people in Kyeongjoo had chosen to take in the nuclear waste storage facility. In fact, what they chose to take in is the poisoned chalice, in exchange for the government money. I met a professor whose specialty is in nuclear and he made an impressively candid confession.

“There is no way to solve the nuclear waste problem. The government proposed a consensus committee to deal with the nuclear waste problem. But I can’t find a way out.”

Even in theory, it is impossible to treat the nuclear waste safely. Besides, we do not have the technology adequate enough to manage the nuclear waste safely. It is like ‘apartment without a toilet.’

I asked him.

“President Park is talking about the nuclear reprocessing technology with U.S. officials. Is it plausible? I think it sounds like ‘We want to make a nuclear bomb.’”

There are two kinds of danger. One danger is to invade the national border. The other danger is to put the whole existence of a nation into peril. While I walk in Vietnam as a pilgrim, I realized that Vietnam experienced devastation near annihilation from air-bombing by U.S. forces. In 1979, the railway system in the north was devastated during the war with China. In wartime, the railway is an easy target to attack. In future war, nuclear power plant of enemy is an easy target to attack. No-more-nuke policy is essential, if only, for national security. Taiwan gave up nuclear plants. Laos and Thailand did not consider nuclear power plant as an option for electricity at the outset. We must consider and discuss the security policy to make the Korean peninsula as ‘nuclear free zone,’ including atomic bomb of North Korea.

Several conservative newspapers are still supporting nuclear power plants. I thought over and over again while I walk.

“When will we hear of the closing of such selfish press?”

(translated by LEE Sanghoon and PARK Dongchun)

Categories: Media Reports

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