friends of the earth korea: campaign against nuclear energy
91% Koreans say nuclear is not the alternative
Nuclear power is becoming more popular as governments seek to break their oil addiction. However, it is not a clean alternative. Dangerous and long lasting waste products have to be dumped somewhere, threatening communities for hundreds of years to come.
Residents of Buan county in Korea are facing just such a threat, a huge dump for nuclear waste. On February 14th they held a referendum on whether or not to accept the dump. 50,000 voters out of a total population of about 70,000 participated in the vote. 91% voted against the dump.
Resistance within Buan to the dump has been enormous. Candlelight vigils have been held for more than 200 days. Elementary, middle and high school students went on strike for 41 days, blocking roads. In addition, there were several demonstrations in which more than 20,000 residents participated.
Ultimately, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy resigned after making apologies to the Buan residents for damages, and he recognized the referendum as an important process to decide upon a nuclear dump site.
Although the Korean government says that it will not accept the result, it will be very hard to ignore the will of the residents. The Buan referendum 2004 made a new page not only in the history of the Korean movement against nuclear energy, but also in the history of Korean democracy.
Friends of the Earth Korea website