Underground Nuclear Waste Disposal Facing Problems in South Korea

The Gyeongju nuclear disposal facility in South Korea, which is designed to store 100,000 drums ofmedium nuclear waste in underground caves, was originally planned for completion in June 2010, but had its construction period extended by 30 months in 2009 because of weak bedrock, and has now (Friday, June 13, 2012) been drawn out for another 18 months again because of weak bedrock. A further problem was that, while digging work had been expected to release 300t of groundwater each day, the increasingly wide excavated area was discharging 2,500t of groundwater daily.

Gyeongju Nuclear Safety Alliance issued a statement on the same day (June 13, 2012), saying, “This extension of the disposal facility construction period, following that of 2009, makes it impossible to believe the promise of ‘safe disposal facility construction’ made by the government and the KRMC. The government and the KRMC must immediately cease construction of the facility, which is wasting taxpayers’ money and cannot be guaranteed safe, and apologize to the citizens of Gyeongju and to the Korean public.”

More concerns around nuclear safety in Gyeongju, Hankyoreh, Jan. 14, 2012

More on the Gyeongju site:  In November 2005, after votes in four provincial cities, Kyongju /Gyeonju on the east coast 370 km SE from Seoul was designated as the site. Almost 90% of its voters approved, compared with 67 to 84% in the other contender locations.  It is close to Wolsong. In June 2006 the government announced that the Gyeongju LILW repository would have a number of silos and caverns some 80m below the surface, initially with capacity for 100,000 drums and costing US$ 730 million. Construction started in April 2008. http://world-nuclear.org/info/inf81.html


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