[EDITORIALS]Nuclear dump site is a priority

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[EDITORIALS]Nuclear dump site is a priority

It seems that the selection of a site for a future nuclear waste dump is just going back to square one. Although the deadline for application is tomorrow, no head of a local government intends to submit an application.
Moreover, as civic groups that oppose the selection of a site accepted the Uri Party’s arbitration to set up a public debate and discuss the issue from the beginning, the government can do nothing but accept it.
What this all means is that the effort of the past seven months, since the Buan incident, to select an alternative site, has come to nothing.
As some civic groups oppose the nuclear power plant itself, it is doubtful that the public debate will proceed smoothly. Even if an agreement is reached there, the project will certainly be delayed for more than a year.
At the moment, as there is no waste disposal dump, gloves and other items used at nuclear plants are kept temporarily on the premises, but their capacity will be full in a few years. Considering the time needed for the construction of a waste depot, the site selection shouldn’t be delayed.
In Korea, where there are no oil reserves, nuclear power is a must, not a choice. Without nuclear power plants, which supply 40 percent of the nation’s electric power, it is not possible to support people’s lives, the economy and national competitiveness. Because of high costs and low efficiency, we cannot pin our hopes on the development of an alternative form of energy right now. The solution lies only in nuclear power generation, and its necessity has grown as oil prices climb higher.
It’s the government’s inability to implement its policy goals that has caused this latest fiasco. Even after 20 years since its failure at Guleop island off Incheon, it has yet to secure a site for a nuclear waste dump.
Local government leaders’ unwillingness to persuade their residents is also a problem. Although they know that the nuclear center will contribute to development of the region, they cower before civic groups.
The biggest problem is the opposition of environmental and civic groups. If they object to nuclear power, they should suggest an alternative source. Why don’t they admit that it’s just not possible?
If there is another energy source cheap enough to maintain our competitiveness, they should present it. We shouldn’t delay on the selection of a nuclear waste dump site.
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