BUSINESS

Seoul lays out measures for safety of used nuclear fuel

By Lee Hyun-jeong
  • Published : Jul 25, 2016 - 16:22
  • Updated : Jul 25, 2016 - 16:23
The Seoul government has set up a basic scheme to safely manage spent nuclear fuel, amid public calls for clear safety measures for the used nuclear fuel, officials said Monday.

The government’s nuclear power committee, chaired by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, said it has drawn up the country’s first scheme for the safe management of high-level radioactive waste. 

Under the new basic scheme, the government will determine the site for a permanent disposal facility based on scientific and democratic methods.

After the site is picked, the committee will construct the intermediate storage facility and underground research laboratory in which the test for the safety of the disposal system will take place.

After conducting the test in the lab, the government will establish the permanent disposal facility.

Those three steps are projected to take about 43 years in total, they added.

“As nuclear power plants have expanded, the task of dealing with the spent nuclear fuel has been left to us. Now, it is time to seek safe management measures for high-level radioactive waste,” said Hwang.

“The public safety must be the top priority and (the government) must fully communicate with the public over carrying out the plans.”

As of December last year, some 16,300 bundles of waste from light water reactors, about 409,000 bundles of waste from heavy water reactors and 520 bundles of waste from research reactors have occurred across the country, with about 73,000 bundles, 256,000 bundles and 16,00 bundles expected this year.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (rene@heraldcorp.com)