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IAEA nuclear inspection draws fire
Safety review of oldest reactor unreliable, activists sayAnti-nuclear activists protest IAEA inspection
- by Stephen Hong, Seoul
- June 12, 2012
The UN nuclear watchdog had sent an eight-member inspection team to conduct a safety review following a 12-minute blackout on February 9 at the Gori-1 reactor in Busan, the countryâ€™s second most populous city.
Safety concerns were high in light of last yearâ€™s disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan and after revelations that officials had initially tried to cover up the power failure at Gori-1.
The details only emerged in March, including the fact that the emergency diesel generator had also failed.
The inspection which began on June 3 ended yesterday, with the IAEA team declaring the reactor is safe for continued use.
There were â€śno problems with the emergency generator and other systems are working well,â€ť said team-leader Miroslav Lipar, head of the IAEAâ€™s Operation Safety Section.
Lipar however recommended officials improve safety management at the plant.
The IAEAâ€™s clean bill of health was immediately criticized by activists and people living near the plant, who dismissed the inspection as too short, rushed and therefore not â€śtrustworthy.â€ť
Local residents called forÂ Gori-1Â to be shut down permanently.
Anti-nuclear groups including the Anti-Nuclear Association in Busan called the IAEA inspection â€śtotally valueless.â€ť
â€śNo nuclear power plant has ever been shut down as a result of an IAEA inspection, so how can we trust the IAEAâ€™s credibility?â€ť
Jeong Su-hui, the associationâ€™s secretary-general, said yesterday that only â€śfour of the eight members on the inspection team actually work in the nuclear industry.â€ť
Kim Ik-jung, head of the executive committee of the Korean Professorsâ€™ Organization for a Post-Nuclear Energy Society, said the inspection was â€ślacking in time and experts.â€ť
Choi Gyo-seo, a spokesman for Korea Hydro Nuclear Power, which runs the plant, said today that the IAEA team had been fully briefed about the situation at the plant â€śtwo months before they visited.â€ť
He added the final decision on what to do with the reactor will be made by the Presidential Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.
Older reactors are more dangerous