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Seven out of 10 Koreans surveyed want power to come primarily from nuclear reactors. A group of scholars on nuclear reactors and energy policies unveiled a latest poll finding that showed 69.3 percent backing reactors operating at current levels or at an increased rate.
Korea Research conducted the poll at the request of three organizations — the Korean Nuclear Society, an inter-university council on rationalizing energy policy and the Korea Science and Technology Forum — of 1,000 males and females aged 19 or over for two days from Aug. 6.

The approval ratio evened out regardless of ideological preference. Among those who claim themselves of a liberal propensity, 60.5 percent supported nuclear power. More than half — 54.9 percent — also believed reactors should be increased or kept at current level at the least. The approval ratio was higher at 72.9 among moderates and 85.7 percent among conservatives.

The survey shows more than half of the sampled citizens disapprove of the government’s policy of weaning the country off nuclear power, whether they are liberal or conservative. The reason was that reactors are cheap and help electricity bills at affordable level (73.2 percent). The majority (over 70 percent) were still fretful over the management of radioactive wastes and the safety risks from nuclear reactors.

The answer suggests the majority of Koreans want nuclear reactors running if their safety is assured. And 55.5 percent already think Korean nuclear reactors are safe. Yet the government stays blindly faithful to the president’s campaign promise to become free of nuclear reactors. More than half — 50.1 percent — said they were unhappy about the government’s energy policy.

The government should pay heed to the public’s voice and reconsider its phase-out policy. It should not shame the government by reversing its policy as the United States, Japan and Britain all revised their plans and are now renewing construction of nuclear reactors.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 17, Page 30
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