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Earthquake in South Korea renews anti-nuclear power stance

The country should instead be favoring a sustainable and safe energy policy, bishop says

September 22, 2016

Korea's strongest recorded earthquake struck an area with a nuclear power plant on Sept.12 renewing calls for the nuclear facility to be removed.

The magnitude 5.8 quake occurred in Gyeongju, an old city in north Gyeongsang province. The city experienced more than 350 aftershocks.

The Korean Catholic Church has long opposed the use of nuclear power.

"We cannot admit the logic of the government that the nuclear power plants are a safe source of energy," said Bishop Lazzarus You Heung-sik of Daejeon, president of the Bishops' Committee for Justice and Peace.

"We should establish a sustainable and sound energy policy for the future," said the bishop.

Thomas More Seong Won-ki from Catholic Solidarity Against Nuclear Energy agreed.

"The earthquake is a message from God warning us of the danger of nuclear power plants," he said.

There are more than 18 nuclear reactors in the southeastern part of the Korean peninsula where Gyeongju is located. The Korean government announced that the reactors can resist earthquakes up to magnitude 6.5 but experts worry that an extreme quake could still destroy them.

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