Lawmaker: Kori plant riskier than Fukushima

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Lawmaker: Kori plant riskier than Fukushima

A lawmaker argues that Kori Nuclear Power Plant in Busan has more risks than plants in Fukushima, Japan, the site of a nuclear accident in 2011.

Park Jung, a lawmaker with the opposition Minjoo Party, said Tuesday that there are more than 3.8 million people living within 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) of the Kori plant. He argued that the risk of damage from a crisis at Kori is 3,950 percent higher than a risk at Fukushima. The risk of possible damage from activity at the Wolsong Nuclear Power site in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang province, is 780 percent higher compared to that of Fukushima, he said.

“There are a total of 446 nuclear plants in 188 locations in the world and only 6 percent of such regions have more than six plants in a region,” Park said in a statement on Tuesday. “And Korea is only country in the world that has more than six plants in every four regions that has such plants here.”

Korea has the most number of people living within 30 kilometers of nuclear plants, according to Park’s data, which he said he obtained from local civic groups.

“Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power has received an approval to build more nuclear power plants in June but they were able to receive it before they were finished with risk assessments,” he said.

Meanwhile, the operator of the country’s nuclear plants released a press release on the same day and said Park’s argument is not necessarily correct.

“We don’t think it is the right way to calculate the possible risks based on people residing nearby the plants and their capacity,” said an official at KHNP. “Furthermore, Korea has less chance of being hit by earthquakes and tsunamis compared to Fukushima and we believe the chance of our plants running into a problem is very low.”

Park, however, said that the government should stop saying their nuclear plants are safe to operate and that it should come up with various measures to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.

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