Tensions heighten as public split on Shin Kori construction

By Kim Da-sol
  • Published : Oct 19, 2017 - 17:28
  • Updated : Oct 19, 2017 - 17:28
With the final decision on the construction of the Shin Kori No. 5 and 6 nuclear reactors expected Friday, a survey showed Thursday that the Korean public is still split on the issue by a thin margin.


According to the poll conducted by Realmeter on 526 people on Wednesday, 43.2 percent supported resumption of the construction, while 43.8 percent said they would like to see the project aborted altogether. 

Construction of the Shin Kori No. 5 and 6 reactors, located in the southeastern city of Ulsan, was halted at about 28 percent completion in July, amid the Moon Jae-in’s administration’s drive to shift energy policy away from nuclear power toward renewables. The government formed a committee to gauge the opinions of different interest groups and said it would accept whatever result the committee makes.

The committee will announce its conclusion Friday. 

If the difference between proponents and opponents exceeds a margin of error of 8 percentage points, the final decision will be based on the majority opinion. 

According to the Realmeter survey, 56 percent in Daejeon and Chungcheong Province opposed continuing the construction, while over the majority in Gwangju and Jeolla Province also opposed the construction, at 54 percent.

However, cities like Busan and Ulsan, where 10 out of 24 nuclear reactors in Korea -- including two reactors on hold -- are located, showed 53.3 percent agreed to resumption of the construction. Currently, Korea has 24 nuclear reactors in operation, from which it gets about a third of the country’s total electricity.

The committee conducted the first-stage public survey by phone on some 20,000 people across the country last month. The second-stage survey was conducted during a jury panel orientation session last month, while the third and fourth surveys were carried out on 471 “citizen jurors” during the jury panel’s final comprehensive debate that ended last week. 

Last week, Moon said he would not seek to single-handedly push ahead with his election pledge, given the division of public opinion, reiterating that he would “accept the results no matter what.”

The committee’s conclusion will be televised live Friday, while the government’s decision will be made during a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.

By Kim Da-sol (