Protesters win without trying

29 September 2004

After the decide-announce-defend disaster of its Wido repository plan, the South Korean government pledged to find an alternative site democratically – while keeping the Wido option open. The government invitied the country's regions to volunteer to host the facility only after they had polled residents' opinions.

Ten regions expressed an initial interest in the huge government subsidies that would come with a store but, according to the Korea Times: "none of them entered a bid due to fears of protests."

The original plan to build an underground repository on the islet of Wido in Buan county was put on hold due to massive protests by activist from across the country despite some local support for the idea.

With no alternative proposals Wido remains the only option although residents are expected to reject the idea. Over 90% voted against the project in an unofficial vote last year.

Operational waste is currently being stored on-site at the country's four plants but these temporary facilities will be full by 2008 and it is estimated that a store will take four years to build. The government's 18-year struggle to find a home for its waste is coming to a head.


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