The government has decided to build an intermediate storage facility for spent nuclear fuel by 2024 as hopes fade of persuading the U.S. to let Korea reprocess its own spent fuel rods.
Currently, spent nuclear fuel is stored in temporary storage facilities in nuclear power plants, but the government decided to build an intermediate facility since they will reach saturation by 2016.
Korea is building an interim disposal facility for low-level nuclear waste in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, but has no plans for high-level nuclear waste for fear of resistance from local residents. It will be equally difficult to find a site for the new storage facility, which is for high-level nuclear waste.
A committee discussing the matter sent a proposal to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy late last month saying the facility should be ready no later than 2024.
The committee was launched by the government last November to tackle the spent nuclear fuel that keeps accumulating while an old agreement with the U.S. prevents Korea from reprocessing it.
Consisting of local representatives, civic leaders, academics and public servants, the committee after dozens of meetings came up with 14 suggestions, which the government is minded to implement.