After failing to find a volunteer community to host a site for a national low-level waste repository over the last eight months, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company (KHNP) has extended its deadline by another four months.
KHNP’s parent company Kepco was put in charge of efforts to secure public approval for a future LLW repository when Korea’s search for a LLW disposal site caused violent protests in 1995. Until then, Kaeri had been responsible. This transfer of responsibility was one aspect of a longstanding rivalry between the two organisations over the leadership role in Korea’s nuclear power programmme.
Kepco blames the lack of results on changes in top management, including the sacking of Kepco’s CEO a year ago, and on strains placed on the nuclear programme since 1998 by government officials who have sought to increase transparency in nuclear decision-making. Other Korean sources suggest that the root of the problem lies in Kepco’s strategy. Kepco tried to find a LLW repository site by asking for local communities in Korea to volunteer to host it in return for money to fund local investment projects.