South Korea to establish presidential body for nuclear safety

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 16:04

Seoul: The government and ruling Grand
National Party (GNP) agreed to launch a presidential body to
coordinate different nuclear agencies to prepare nuclear
energy policies and handle emergency situations, officials
said on Wednesday.

A GNP task force team unveiled the plan in a policy
meeting that discussed precautionary safety measures to handle
growing concerns over radiation leaks as Japan is still
grappling with an unfolding nuclear crisis from a crippled
atomic plant.

The team, led by GNP lawmaker Shim Jae-chul, will
submit a related bill to the parliament this month so as to
launch the central nuclear body in July, officials said.

The control tower will be composed of five to seven
nuclear experts to oversee related organizations, including
the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety and the Korea Institute
of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control, the officials said.

The agencies are currently under the Ministry of
Education and Science, which oversees state research agencies.

To better prepare for a contingency situation, the
education ministry will increase the number of automated
radiation testing centers from the current 71 to 120 and local
testing centers from 12 to 16 across the nation, officials
said.

The ministry has also stored anti-radiation medication
in case of a public safety emergency related to radiation
exposure.

The education ministry is testing the nation`s nuclear
power plants for whether they can withstand such natural
disasters as earthquakes and tsunamis with their response
systems operating in a timely and appropriate manner.

South Korea currently has 21 nuclear reactors in
operation and is building several more. It gets about
one-third of its electricity from atomic power generation.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 16:04

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