[The Hankyoreh 2017-11-13] “Danger of Nuclear Power Plants, We Need Cross Watching”


[왜냐면] 원전 위험, 교차 감시를

original article:

translated in Japanese (日本語 翻訳):




translated in English:

[Because] “Danger of Nuclear Power Plants, We Need Cross Watching”

– Won Young Lee, The University of Suwon, President of Institute for Future Research of National Territory (Source: http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/opinion/because/818829.html)

President Moon’s policy to shutdown Wolseong 1st nuclear reactor is a very good news for those people who have worries about the safety of nuclear power plants.

 However, when we look into the approval process of the extension of Wolseong 1st reactor’s operation longevity by the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) two years ago, we can’t help getting angry. The solid fact is that large-scale investment in the exchange of equipments were carried out before extension of operation longevity. We may call this investment of more than hundred billion won by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Ltd. (KHNP) as so-called holdout (albakki in Korean). Even though NSSC was aware of the fact that because of physical limitation it is impossible for the Wolseong 1st reactor to pass the new safety standards (R-7), NSSC poured hundred billion won into Wolseong 1st reactor by indirection. Such a strategy of ‘accepting as a fact’ is ridiculing Korean people. Such a strategy was repeated in the construction process of New Gori 5th & 6th reactors. But NSSC and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) did not stop such an absurdity. If we don’t inquire responsibility of related people, Korea can’t be called a normal nation.

 In Korea, only one administrative ministry is dealing with every aspects of the nuclear power plants. Construction work is done by KHNP under MOTIE. The auditing work is done by NSSC under MOTIE. It is like “setting the wolf to guard the sheep.”

What about other countries? The common factor of other advanced countries in dealing with nuclear power plants is that Parliament is exercising watching role. To watch the Administration is the basic role of Parliament. In U.S. France, and Germany, the Parliament is substantially watching the Administration. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of U.S. which we are following the example of, has five members. But the appointment of NRC members by President has to be approved by the Senate. The majority of Parliament can recommend up to three members, and the chairperson has a weak authority. Most importantly, the audit team in NRC is controlled directly by the Parliament.

 How about the status of NSSC of Korea? The number of NSSC members who are recommended by the Parliament is fewer than the Administration. In one word, the Parliament is acting as a foil for the Administration. Moreover, the auditor in NSSC is positioned not under the chairperson but under the secretary. The independence of NSSC is not guaranteed at all.

 Our watching system is not normal. In France, a watching organization which is called OPECST is positioned under the Parliament. OPECST is watching even ASN of the Administration. France has a very powerful watching system. Germany which declared ‘nuclear-free’ policy, has a watching system which is called ‘four eyes.’ Four eyes are watching all the process of nuclear power plant, from permit to execution. In Sweden, the Judiciary has a strong watching power. The Court of Environment in Sweden has a control power over the approval of nuclear power plant. In Japan, a local self-governing body has the authority of stopping the nuclear power plants. As a result of this authority, most of Japanese nuclear power plants were stopped after Hukushima accident. It was the success of cross-watching system of Japan.

 When we have a good watching-system, we can find out the shortcomings of

present legal system. The necessity of systematic measures which was ascertained by a good watching-system is the basis of legislative power. In order to watch properly, we need a watching-system at all times. A possible alternative is to establish ‘Bureau of Nuclear Watching’ under the Parliament just like Bureau of Legislative Investigation which was established to strengthen the role of legislation. Moreover, the Agency of Administrative Eval‎uation may be established to strengthen the role of watching of the Parliament.

 The establishment of Bureau of Nuclear Watching will serve both the symbolic aspect and effective aspect. First of all, the work of safety part becomes more elaborate. Both the areas of manual and non-manual become more minute. As a result, the probability to safeguard an accident or a breakdown becomes upgraded. It is necessary to make the self-governing body where the nuclear power plant is located, bear the responsibility of cross-watching. And, we should increase the work force which is related with watching, safety, and disaster-relief. Such a measure would create more job opportunity. Many people would welcome more job openings.

 (Translated by Lee Sang Hoon and Dong Chun Park)

Categories: Media Reports

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