SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — The government will lift a cap previously placed on the maximum amount of liability coverage for nuclear power plant accidents.
The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission announced plans to hold nuclear power reactor operators to a stricter standard during a meeting on Wednesday, which will see a previous cap of 500 billion won for nuclear accident liability compensation lifted.
When the new measure enters into effect, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, South Korea’s nuclear power plant operator, could be on the hook for over 500 billion won in compensation in case of a major accident.
“I believe major nuclear accidents such as the Chernobyl disaster and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster should be avoided at all costs,” said Kang Jung-min, who chairs the nuclear safety commission, while pledging to ‘drastically’ ramp up safety regulations for nuclear power.
“Our committee’s role is to protect the public from large-scale nuclear leaks, major nuclear power plant accidents. There will be no compromise in protecting the safety of the public,” Kang said firmly during the press conference today.
The plans to reform the Atomic Energy Damage Compensation Act comes on the heels of criticism over the maximum amount of compensation for accidents capped at 500 billion won per site, which is a mere 150th of the liability compensation of 75 trillion won for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
One member of the commission explained the move will leave nuclear power plant operators facing unlimited liability, as opposed to limited liability which has been the case in the past.
In addition, the commission will bring changes to the way nuclear safety data is shared to make the system more transparent and accessible, and will pass legislation pressuring nuclear business operators and regulatory institutions to share more information with the public.
Reports on nuclear energy will be made public gradually until 2019, excluding confidential information.
Meetings by the nuclear safety commission are set to be broadcast to the public, while opinions from local communities around nuclear reactors will be reflected in the discussions.
The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission also said it will raise the on-site inspection rate at nuclear reactors from 5 percent to the OECD average of 50 percent.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)