As South Korea moves to develop nuclear power, concern grows among nearby residents

The 24 reactors, capable of generating 23,250 megawatts, are concentrated at four sites – 5 to 7 reactors per site – with some 5 million people living within 30 km of the plants, according to 2019 data compiled by lawmakers. opposition Wi Seong-gon.

Nuclear experts say South Korea’s cluster reactors pose no safety concerns, but some locals are unconvinced.

“The cows are a little bad. There have been miscarriages, who knows why,” said Kim Jin-sun, a 75-year-old cattle owner living near Wolsong.

“Even if I try to sell my house or my rice field and go somewhere else, no one will buy.”


While many South Koreans support the expansion of nuclear power, a significant minority urges a reduction.

A June 28-30 survey of 1,000 South Koreans by Gallup Korea showed that 39% supported the expansion of nuclear power, 30% wanted current levels to be maintained, while 18% called for the reduce.

South Korea ranks fifth in the world for nuclear output, according to World Economic Forum data for 2020, behind the United States, China, France and Russia.

As it has scarce natural resources, experts say nuclear power is crucial to keeping the country’s lights on and fueling its world-leading manufacturing industry, which exports chips, cars, display panels and computers. electric vehicle batteries.