70% like nuclear power: Survey
According to the survey from the Korean Nuclear Society, which was released on Thursday, 71.6 percent of Koreans said they think the country should continue using nuclear power.
The think tank surveyed 1,000 Koreans over two days earlier this month about their views on nuclear reactors in Korea and its implications.
Twenty-six percent of the respondents said Korea should not rely on nuclear energy as a primary source of electricity.
The study indicated that 37.7 percent of the population wanted the share of electricity generated by nuclear reactors to be expanded while 31.6 percent said it should be maintained at its current level. Only 28.9 percent wanted it to be reduced. About 30 percent of the electricity consumed in Korea is produced by nuclear reactors, second only to coal, which generates about 35 percent of the country’s electricity.
“The operation rate of nuclear plants has been on the rise to meet the rising demand for electricity due to the heat wave this year,” said the think tank in a press release. “[At this rate], the storage of nuclear waste at the Wolsong reactor will reach its peak capacity by June 2020, which means the government may have to build more reactors [to meet the rising demand].”
The study also indicated that about half of the population sees Korean nuclear reactors as safe.
Of those surveyed, 55.5 percent said they considered Korean nuclear plants safe while 40.7 percent said they were unsafe.
More than 70 percent said that nuclear reactors were effective at reducing electricity prices, saying it was a cheaper source of energy compared to wind or solar power.
“More than a majority of the public said government support for nuclear energy development should increase compared to the current level,” said the think tank.
The findings showed that nearly 60 percent of respondents wanted the government to invest in developing nuclear energy technologies, and 52.3 percent want the government to provide more aid to the Korea Electric Power Corporation, the state-run energy supplier, to export Korea’s nuclear technologies.
“The government needs to pay more attention to the views of the public as well as of the experts,” said Kim Hark-rho, the president of the Korean Nuclear Society.
BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [firstname.lastname@example.org]