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Civic activists lose lawsuit to suspend operation of nuclear plant

National 15:13 February 18, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- A group of civic activists and residents lost a lawsuit against a state nuclear safety commission Thursday, in which they sought to suspend the operation of a nuclear power plant in the southeastern provincial city of Ulsan for safety reasons.

The Seoul Administrative Court handed down the ruling against 723 complainants who claimed that the Shin Kori-4 plant poses dangers to the protection of people's lives and that the operator, the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Plant (KHNP), should suspend its operation.

The court said some of the complainants were not eligible to file the lawsuit since they live outside an 80-kilometer radius of the plant. It also ruled the claims by the rest invalid "based on relevant laws and evidence."

The photo provided by the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Plant on Dec. 6, 2019, shows Shin Kori units 3 and 4 in Ulsan, South Korea. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) approved the operation of the Shin Kori-4 in February 2019, nearly 12 years after the construction began. It started operations in August that year, as the country's 26th nuclear power plant.

Prior to the lawsuit filed in May last year, the complainants said in a statement that they were referring the case to the court, which is the equivalent of "(us) taking the protection of our lives and safety into our own hands, as the government does not care."

"We cannot accept having a nuclear power plant in this populous area, without any contingency plan for a potential disaster," the statement read.

Last month, an appellate court also ruled in favor of the NSSC, rejecting a plea by Greenpeace and anti-nuclear activists to stop the construction of the Shin Kori units 5 and 6. The construction of the two units is expected to finish in 2022.

The April 4, 2019, file photo, shows anti-nuclear activists holding a protest against the operation of the Shin Kori-4 nuclear power plant in front of Ulsan City Hall in the southeastern city of Ulsan, South Korea. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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