[EDITORIALS]No cash for Wido residentsAfter Wido was selected as the site for a radioactive waste treatment plant, the debate over rewarding cash compensation to the local residents is undesirable in every respect. Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy Yoon Jin-sik has said that the government will consider revising the law on assisting the areas around nuclear facilities so that regional autonomous government bodies can provide cash subsidies to local residents. On his visit to the proposed site, Mr. Yoon could have wanted to comfort the locals. But his words were far from appropriate, fueling the locals who are already anticipating some kind of compensation. If the construction of a nuclear waste facility is meant to contribute to a local economy that is falling behind, then the government needs to devise a plan to revive the economy first. Giving cash directly to the residents will not solve the problem.
We have witnessed opposition, and a demand for compensation, from urban residents whenever a medical facility or commercial building is built in a neighborhood. If the government sets a precedent in a state project, we can only expect to see a surge in demand for cash rewards from local residents. If the government decides to pay cash directly to Wido residents, farmers and fishermen in the inland region of Buan county, who would live right across from the nuclear facility on the island of Wido, are likely to complain.
With all due respect to the brave resolution of the Wido residents, they need to refrain from excessive demands. The nation is in debt to Wido residents, but providing hundreds of millions of won in compensation is far beyond reason.
Once construction of the facility begins, those individuals whose lands are expropriated or fishery rights are damaged will be compensated appropriately, but the rewards should be discussed after the project is in full swing. The government is partly responsible for complicating the situation with its lukewarm attitude and inconsistent policies. Its job is to give the locals an assurance that the construction of the facility will be an epochal opportunity for Buan by presenting a blueprint for the regional development.
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