Father Park Hong-pyo (center) at a press conference to oppose the selection of sites for new nuclear plants.
The Church renewed calls yesterday for the government to scrap nuclear energy after a state enterprise last week named the sites it wants for two new power plants. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced on December 23 that it had chosen Samcheok city and Yeongdeok-gun county, both on the east coast, as the sites of theplants. After an environmental evaluation, next year, KHNP will submit an application to the government for final decision. The announcement was immediately condemned by the Church and anti-nuclear activists in Samcheok, who took to the streets of the city in protest yesterday. The No Nukes Samcheok Coalition said a growing number of people are opposed to the plan and people’s opinions were not reflected in the selection process. Father Paul Park Hong-pyo, a coalition spokesman, said: "The disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant last March in Japan has turned people against nuclear power." After the Fukushima incident, just over half the population was against the plan and that number had increased significantly since then. "I think three quarters of them are against the idea," he said. Wonju diocese’s Committee for Justice and Peace yesterday called on the government to reject the application. The diocese, which covers Samcheok, called the KHNP decision a "unilateral" action and is nothing more than "violence by the state against the people". The committee also said the government's aim to increase the number of nuclear power plants goes against growing global opposition to nuclear energy. South Korea has 21 nuclear reactors and is building or planning 11 more, according to KHNP.