Nuclear energy: Clean but Not Clean

Apr 25, 2016 · 4 min read

On the 9th of Oct. The Greenpeace environment surveillance ship “Rainbow Warrior III” arrived in Busan to protest against the development of two new nuclear reactors and the expansion of nuclear power plants. The Kori nuclear power plant lies between two big southeast cities, Busan and Ulsan. Greenpeace activists had begun campaigning against the construction of newly opening reactors (Shin Kori 5,6). South Korea is facing with scrutiny and backlash for having highest geographic density of nuclear power plants in the world. And Greenpeace Korea is prioritizing this anti-nuclear campaign and very skeptical about expanding nuclear industry in South Korea and abroad. As a matter of fact, by the end of 2016, South Korea carries the risk of having the greatest growth of nuclear generation in the world.

The concern, Nuclear catastrophe, continues beyond nuclear power station itself. Because It is devastating to see such a high number of deaths attributed to nuclear accidents. And it could be a very big controversy. Also there is a downside to it such as nuclear weapons and atomic bombs. So, It is not quite surprising anti-nuclear movement is globalizing. Therefore, Some countries, such as German, are phasing out nuclear energy and others use alternative power source.

But the world is not working as the activists think. No energy is perfect. Heavy pollution in China is due to coal emissions. Actually, millions of deaths linked to fossil fuel emissions all over the world. It is impossible to meet the energy demand with just renewable sources. And fracking blow up the top of mountains to extract oil or natural gas from deep under ground. It is very visible environmental damage.

So, I think nuclear energy is risky but careful planning and well- reimplement could prevent disasters with respect to pros and cons of all energy sources.

Frankly speaking, we all have recognized what I have talked so far. But I don’t think only the reasons above lead to make people in adverse opinions. It is normally said that nuclear power is linked to the military and growth of nuclear power could lead to increase risks of nuclear weapons. Here I suggest you think differently. My concern is that corruption could eventually lead to a major accident and objection.

I have been told that there is always corruption in every field of industry and I strongly agree with it. Because I have seen enough just in South Korea. Highly according to the newspaper, there were also some cases about corruption in KEPCO.

Case 1) KEPCO senior executive arrested in nuclear plant graft probe

A court in Busan on Thursday issued an arrest warrant against Lee Jong-chan, the senior executive vice president of the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. Lee, who heads KEPCO’s overseas business division, allegedly conspired with parts suppliers and certifiers to falsify test certificates of parts for atomic reactors five years ago.

Case 2) KEPCO, executive members in bribery scandal for promotion got a slap on the wrist

KEPCO’s executive members, the head of Management support division, the head of Audit & Inspection office and the head of Human resources department, were treated and took kickback from one of KEPCO junior staff in the pub of a Hotel in Seoul.

Case 3) Bribery scandal hits KEPCO

High-ranking officials of the state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and one of its affiliates were arrested on charges of taking bribes from a supplier in return for favors, the prosecution said Sunday. Prosecutors arrested 10 people involved, including former KEPCO permanent auditor Kang Seung-cheol and the head of a supplier, surnamed Kim. Another five, including a manager at the affiliate, KEPCO KDN, surnamed Shin, was indicted without physical detention. According to the prosecution, Kim allegedly offered about 356.9 million won ($320,000) in kickbacks to 10 executives of KEPCO, KEPCO KDN and the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) from 2008 through last year.

So, what are we supposed to do here? We should come up with engineer’s ways of nuclear power, Not businessmen’s ways. If we keep thinking that corruption is inevitable, that could be the most imposing danger. We need to make clean headway into nuclear energy. Construction and monitoring of nuclear expansion needs to be transparent. Just like nuclear fusion generates energy with little to no waste, we should generate electricity with no corruption. I believe it will be a great development in the field of nuclear industry.

No matter what people say, nuclear energy started out with good intentions. We all know how beneficial nuclear power is. Relatively low CO2 emissions and many countries derives a huge amount of electricity based on nuclear technology.

Just let nuclear energy go where it belongs. We should leave nuclear energy as clean as it used to be. That will be the most viable option for all of us.