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Bishops want Korean society to have more say on nuclear power

To help ensure nuclear power plant safety, symposium participants call for greater transparency
Bishops want Korean society to have more say on nuclear power

Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju gives his keynote speech at a May 15 symposium on South Korea's use of nuclear power. (Photo by The Catholic Times of Korea)

Published: May 22, 2017 03:11 AM GMT
Updated: May 22, 2017 07:49 AM GMT

The Korean bishops' conference organized a symposium analyzing the safety problems of nuclear power based on Pope Francis' encyclical on environment and ecology, Laudato Si.

In his keynote speech at the symposium, Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju, president of the Korean bishops' Committee for Ecology and Environment, shared his experience of visiting Fukushima in Japan, the scene of a severe nuclear accident.

"I realized that any accident with nuclear power is not just a technical issue but a problem that shakes people's whole livelihood," said Bishop Kang.

"It is not easy to give up nuclear power because scientists, large companies and the government have vested interests in it," he said.

Bishop Kang called for the participation of civil society in the anti-nuclear movement.

"The civic groups and Korean people should actively intervene in the government's energy policy to solve the problem. We also want to try to change our lifestyle and save energy in an eco-friendly way," the prelate said.

The committee held the symposium on May 15 in Gyeongju where six nuclear reactors are located. South Korea's largest earthquake occurred there in 2016 raising awareness of the need to avoid a disaster.

Lee Jeong-yoon, president of Nuclear Safety and Future, a forum for nuclear experts, stressed the need for transparent communication.

"As Laudato Si noted, transparency on nuclear power plants should be fully secured and civic groups must be allowed to continuously monitor them," Lee said.

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