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Public reaction mixed over decision on two nuke reactors

Citizens expressed mixed reactions Friday toward a state commission's recommendation to resume the construction of two nuclear reactors.

An independent commission announced the proposal earlier in the day based on a survey of 471 people selected as a jury on whether to abandon or continue the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 reactors.

Nearly 60 percent of the jury voted for the resumption of the construction near the southeastern city of Ulsan that began last year. 


Scrapping the project was one of President Moon Jae-in's campaign pledges. But he decided to hear public opinion before making a final decision.

Those who supported the abandonment showed disappointment, with some activists and protesters from the southeastern city of Miryang bursting out in tears.

"We cannot accept the recommendation," an official representing the opposition group said. "We urge President Moon to consistently carry out the policy in accordance with his election promises."

The official pointed out the jury's decision has excluded the voices of the interested parties such as residents living in the areas.

"The majority of the jury was from Seoul or Gyeonggi Province.

Miryang residents were never given a chance to speak about it."

In contrast, nuclear energy experts hailed the suggestion, calling on the government to beef up efforts on reaching a consensus over energy policy based on correct information. 

"I am glad they've made the right choice," Hwang Yong-seok, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University. "I understand that more jurors turned in support of the resumption as the debate developed... We once again witnessed the importance of sharing the right information."

A civic group that has spearheaded moves against the construction said although it respects the commission's recommendation, the government should not give up on its policy to phase out reliance on nuclear power.  (Yonhap)