SEOUL: South Korea’s government should resume publishing polls on nuclear safety after a loss of public confidence in the sector in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster, an opposition South Korean lawmaker said yesterday.
The call came as South Korea, whose public is traditionally seen as pro-nuclear, investigated fake safety documents for parts used in nuclear plants led to two of the country’s 23 reactors being shut down last week and has raised the prospect of power shortages in the harsh Korean winter.
Woo Yoon-geun, an opposition legislator in South Korea’s parliament, said the government had deliberately suppressed the polls in a bid to ensure support for plans to construct new nuclear power stations, a charge denied by the agency that runs the polling.
“They should disclose the result to the public as it is and conduct the official regular survey,” Woo said by telephone yesterday.
The polls were conducted by an industry body that promotes nuclear power which is run by The Ministry of the Knowledge Economy, a ministry which is also responsible for nuclear oversight, domestic nuclear expansion and South Korea’s ambitious export plans, worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Until 2011, the polls were published annually, but since the March 2011 Fukushima accident, the world’s second worst nuclear disaster after Chernobyl, no survey has been published.