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작성일 : 12-03-30 21:03
Enerzine No 19. One year after Fukushima and South Korea
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   http://enerpol.net/newsletter/Enerzine/Enerzine No. 19 .pdf [1970]
1. Issues

One year after Fukushima and South Korea

A year ago, a tsunami raged Fukushima, Japan. This miserable news was reported all over the world. Before long, however, sadness over this news changed into fear of radiation after a nuclear power plant started meltdown and exploded. The nuclear plant accident is indeed a historical nuclear tragedy. After one year, how has Korea changed, being the closest country to Japan? How does it keep itself a safe country from the effects of nuclear failure? If as a people, we experience the fear of nuclear threats, then it is commonsensical to try to get rid of these threats. Unfortunately, nuclear mafias still exist and expending nuclear power policy is ongoing after these tragedies transpired in Fukushima. A more serious thing is the duplicity of people that even Koreans realized the danger of nuclear power, people still find using nuclear power an agreeable option because they think there are no alternatives. With this situation, many things have happened one year after the Fukushima tragedy. The Korean government announced the establishment of two more nuclear power plant sites with eight more units. One of the farmers who protested against the high-voltage transmission tower burned himself. Gori No. 1, one of nuclear power plants, nearly went on blackout. In spite of these occurrences, the ‘Nuclear Safety Summit’ pushes through in Seoul, on 26–27 March 2012. These things are overlapped while South Korea is in the midst of an anti-nuclear activism.

 On 10 March, nearly one year after the Fukushima tragedy, huge anti-nuclear protests take place in Seoul and Busan. The staged protests were dubbed as ‘No nuclear world for our children’ in Seoul and ‘Gathering of Pusan citizens for no nuclear’ in Busan, the second city in Korea. Several elementary school students and residents from Fukushima participated and delivered speeches bearing strong messages concerning the anti-nuclear protest. The protesters stressed that we must make a nuclear-free world for the future generation and for the safety of the entire world. Moreover, many NGOs from different sectors such as the environment, women, and others participated in this gathering while the ECPI distributed brochures on how it is possible to escape the threats of nuclear power (see report below).

Written by Bo-young, Cho (Researcher: jobo8184@yahoo.co.kr)


Nuclear Safety Summit: Nuclear weapon summit covered nuclear safety

The ‘Nuclear Safety Summit’ held in Korea blew the wind to phase out nuclear power and its threat. Many believe this summit should be an international meeting to stop the tragedies of a nuclear power plant such as the one in Fukushima. This move hopes to promote a safe world. The second summit this year was joined by 53 counties after President Obama suggested in 2009 to manage and keep nuclear materials from terrorism. Keeping the safety in nuclear power plant has no purpose, as this promotes the deadliest nuclear weapon. Korea’s situation, however, will affect the general election as well as the presidential election this year. The protest, ‘Nuclear Safety Summit will thus play an important role. The Korean government, which has strongly pushed the nuclear energy, has a mission to achieve political stands. In this messy political situation, I dare think that the government should put North Korea’s missile issue at the forefront of the issue because its nuclear weapon and other missiles are among the most sensitive issues, that is, nationally and internationally. Ban Ki-Moon, Korean United Nations Secretary-General, mentioned about North Korea’s long-range rocket during a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. And President Lee also promised to public that will negotiate with Obama to extend South Korea’s rocket range. Even foreign press also shows more interest in North Korea’s missile than nuclear safety.
 
In terms of this, Korea civil society; mainly environmental NGOs criticized that this ‘Nuclear Safety Summit’ is game of nuclear mafias and countries. There is Anti-Nuclear Asia Forum with 6 countries; Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippine, Indonesia and Taiwan. They shared the situation of south-east Asia which take a strong pressure on nuclear power plant construction and of Japan which closely experienced danger of nuclear. There are many different activities and protesting under the slogan of ‘we do not need better nuclear safety but no nuclear world’, ‘nuclear free is the only answer’. Korea government, however, break in every civil societies peaceful activities. They deported Sato-Daisuke, secretary-general of Anti-nuclear Asia forum Japan and officially invited from Anti-nuclear Asia forum and block the public park for just in case under the good excuse of security of high-level dignitaries. Kuroda Setsuko, member of women of Fukushima without nuclear power plant, said “all of nuclear power plant in the world must stop right now not after 10 years”, “Fukushima tragedy should be the first step to stop nuclear power plants in the world” during her presentation of ‘life after Fukushima Accident’ in Anti-nuclear Asia forum in Pusan.

Nuclear Safety Summit finished with passed ‘Seoul communiqué’ unanimity which mainly promised try to reduce fissile material such as highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium. But the real nuclear safety and world’s peace is not to protect nuclear securely, that is making a nuclear free world.
 
Written by Bo-young, Cho (Researcher: jobo8184@yahoo.co.kr)



2. Opinions
Energy cooperation makes a profit with ignoring energy poverty

Recently, the U.K. press reports that energy supply companies recorded enormous surplus, amidst people of whom 3,000 die every year caused by the heating shortage and the rising heating bill. According to this report, companies supplying electricity and gas in the U.K. include the British Gas, EDF, E.ON, N Power, Scottish Power Business, and Scottish & Southern. They are the so-called Big 6 that increased profits from customers to 733%. This report, however, stated, “Now the UK state is that 5.5 billion families meet with energy shortage and 2.2 billion older are trying to fall in sleep deliberately to save energy bills.” The energy business has been the oligopolies of the Big 6. These energy companies do not even ensure access rights on energy and other life necessities to follow unlimited economic profits excessively. With these terms, the U.K.’s Green party campaigns on the expansion of energy welfare by imposing tax on the excessive profits of energy companies.
 
The situation in the U.K. is not a singular case. Similar circumstances prevail in many countries having privatized network industries in electricity, gas, and other necessities. The reason behind this may be due to overall inefficiency. This means the soaring of energy price may be possibly caused by energy, which used to be a cheap commodity and considered part of public service. These situations however changed into the pursuit of profits dominated by private companies. People suffer greatly from the privatization of the energy sector. People suffer the same way after the privatization of water supply in regions such as South America. The case in the U.K. is just another specific case.

In South Korea, many public services are turned over to private companies that profit the most. The critics thus target oil companies that created an oligopoly and the situation of overall privatization for a long time. Even though Korea’s electricity and gas are still supplied by public companies, the government’s financial investment for extending energy welfare is very low within the mood of neo-liberalism. The legislation of energy welfare bill prepared by the government and the national assembly is continuously delayed. In the state of energy instability caused by the exhaustion of energy resources and affected by the situation around the world, we desperately need to exert an effort to expend on energy welfare and control private companies by gaining excessive profits.
Written by Jae-kak, Han (Deputy Director: hanclk@hanmail.net )



3. New Report

ECPI. Suggest 2030 phase-out nuclear, 2050 phase-out oil scenario
 
The Energy and Climate Policy Institute (ECPI) has opened to the public an alternative energy scenario with the goal to spearhead the ‘2030 phase-out nuclear, 2050 phase-out oil’ in the general election as well as the presidential election in 2012. This scenario made through back-casting method that emphasizes a normative approach. This scenario shows extreme difference with scenario of government that use forecasting methodology to determine future energy supply and consumption considering the present trend. The scenario prepared is vital so social debate and the actualization of a political agenda to phase out nuclear weapons that have founded the Green Party’s image and phase out nuclear activities after the Fukushima nuclear tragedy. The scenario stresses that if Korea reduces energy consumption per capita as much as what Germany achieved in 2009, Korea will reduce 25% of its total energy consumption, a comparison between the years 2010 and 2050. Moreover, this scenario suggests the goal to close 16 nuclear power units, estimated to end after their 30 years plant life in 2028, and close other 5 nuclear power plants with plant life lasting until 2030. This scenario also suggests a plan to replace nuclear power by the expansion of renewable energy and use LNG as a bridge in mid-term. Meanwhile, this scenario has combined the goal to reduce the amount of CO2 in the process of phasing out nuclear power and phasing out oil. The ECPI points out the need to have a local energy transition in the consumption and supply of energy based on local, renewable, and dramatic reduction of energy-guzzling industry. The given scenario backs up the required social structure changing until 2050. 

Written by Jung-pil, Lee (Researcher: scumaru3440@hanmail.net)

 
   
 




 
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