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National Assembly Legislation

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  • Special bill on the management of high-level radioactive waste
    • Competent Ministry : Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
    • Advance Publication of Legislation : 2021-10-13
    • Opinion Submission Deadline : 2021-10-27
Reasons for Proposal

1. Reason for proposal

Currently, spent nuclear fuel from the operation of nuclear power plants is stored in a temporary facility within each plant, but the Hanul, Gori, Hanbit, and Wolseong nuclear power plants are expected to reach their limit of accommodation within a decade. Wolseong Plant, for one, has had to expand its temporary storage facility. Attention needs to be drawn to the fact that even the procedure for the selection of a high-level radioactive waste disposal facility site has not been established yet.

The construction of high-level radioactive waste management facilities such as intermediary repositories and disposal facilities is an urgent matter for all for the safe management of the existing spent nuclear fuel as well as for the continued operation of the currently operating nuclear power plants.

High-level radioactive waste should be separated from the areas where people carry out their everyday lives for hundreds of thousands of years. As such, the selection of the location of a high-level radioactive waste management facility should meet the requirements like geological stability and locals’ acceptance; hence the need for the establishment of an independent body and the enactment of a special law, for it is widely recognized in consideration of the importance of formulation of the relevant policy and democratic and transparent selection of the site for the management facilities.

Such being the case, the government intends to come up with a special law to launch the High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Committee (“HRWMC”) as an independent body reporting directly to the Prime Minister to stipulate the procedure and task for the safe management of high-level radioactive waste including the formulation of high-level radioactive waste management-related policies and selection of site for a disposal facility.

 

2. Main content

A. Launch/Operation of HRWMC for deliberation and decisions on matters required for the management of high-level radioactive waste and survey/selection of candidate sites for management facilities (Articles 6 through 14 of said bill).

B. HRWMC shall formulate a basic plan for the safe and systematic management of high-level radioactive waste, listen to the opinions of diverse stakeholders and experts, and set up a plan for high-level radioactive waste management based on the basic plan (Articles 15 and 17 of said bill).

C. HRWMC shall set up a plan for site suitability survey for high-level radioactive waste management facilities (Article 18 of the bill).

D. HRWMC shall come up with candidate sites for a basic site suitability survey. The Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy shall conduct a basic survey by selecting candidate sites after having mayors/gun headmen/gu heads of the candidate sites submit applications (Article 19 of the bill). 

E. HRWMC shall evaluate the result of the basic survey, come up with sites subject to the site suitability in-depth survey, and conduct an in-depth survey of the selected sites (Article 20 of the bill).

F. HRWMC shall evaluate the result of the in-depth survey, come up with candidate management facilities, and make the final selection of the site through the process stipulated in the Residents' Voting Act and HRWMC’s deliberation/decision (Article 21 of the bill).

G. The Committee for Supporting Areas Adjacent to the Management Facility shall be launched as a body reporting directly to the Prime Minister for deliberation on important matters for the provision of support for areas adjacent to the finally selected management facility. HRWMC and heads of the relevant central administrative institutions shall establish and execute their respective plans for the provision of support and execution of the plan (Articles 22 through 25 of the bill).

H. HRWMC may launch/operate an underground research facility to verify the safety of the high-level radioactive waste disposal facility (Article 26 of the bill).

I. HRWMC may cancel the selection of the management facility site where it becomes impossible to go ahead with the construction of the management facility due to the occurrence of an unexpected problem in the course of construction work for the facility or a serious problem that makes it difficult to recognize the effectiveness of local residents’ consent in the process of site suitability survey or disaster or the like (Article 27 of the bill).

J. HRWMC shall establish criteria for the safe management of high-level radioactive waste, have the management agency formulate a plan for laying the management groundwork, and enable the agency to engage in programs for safety management-related technology development and training of the relevant experts (Articles 28 through 31 of the bill).

K. A nuclear power generation business entity intending to build a waste storage facility within its nuclear power plant shall establish the relevant facility plan and observe the limit set concerning storage capacity within a site and stipulations concerning the storage of spent nuclear fuel within a site. (Article 32 of the bill).


Major Provisions

Articles 6 and 22 of the bill


Go to the Bill