The Korea Nuclear Energy Agency (KNEA) is expanding its activities abroad to realize its vision to be a global public acceptance (PA) institution specializing in spearheading public trust and safety of nuclear power.
In particular, in the wake of rising public misgivings caused by an earthquake that hit Gyeongju last Sept. 12, the KNEA is devoting itself to easing the public’s mind by supplying scientific and objective information in a precise manner through cooperation with Korean and foreign institutions.
Last year, the KNEA signed an MOU with the Haiyan·China Nuclear Power City (CNPC) to establish a network designed to spread the safety of nuclear power. The agency has also been striving to expand mutual exchanges in the PA sector with Posiva, a Finnish company specializing in spent fuel management.
At a workshop the KNEA jointly sponsored in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Philippine government last December, Kim Seung-gyem, chief of the KNEA’s Communications Office, gave a lecture to 60 people, including officials from the Philippine Energy Department and the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization (NEPIO) to share experiences and knowhow earned from the KNEA’s project to raise public acceptance.
The participants in the seminar showed their keen interests in the history of Korea’s nuclear power, ranging from the introduction of nuclear power plants to the export process of nuclear power plants and in the outcomes of public surveys on nuclear power. They complimented that the session was satisfactory.
The Philippines is conducting a research to prepare for the resumption of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. The construction was launched in 1976, and the plant is embroiled in a public acceptance issue.
This year, the KNEA plans to develop and expand projects to regularize information exchanges with such foreign institutions as the IAEA and the Japan Atomic Energy Relations Organization (JAERO) with which the KNEA has signed MOUs, and exchange programs connected with the institutions. The KNEA plans to make this the first year of establishing itself as a global PA agency by strengthening working-level expertise and capabilities so that the public acceptance field plays a pivotal role in international cooperation.
Last January, KNEA Chairman Kim Ho-sung met with a visiting 19-member nuclear delegation from Singapore, headed by Deputy Secretary Peter Tan Hai Chuan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The two exchanged their opinions regarding major issues between the two countries and cooperation deepening plan. And the delegation had a time to comprehend KNEA’s programs to promote communications corresponding to public expectations to promote public acceptance.
The delegation showed keen interests in KNEA’s programs such as fact-checking of unverified information, online radwaste counseling, and an educational program on next-generation nuclear power and agreed to carry on cooperative ties in the public acceptance field though mutual exchanges.
The KNEA is planning to participate in the Nuclear Power Asia 2017 conference, scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and to prepare for the IAEA-Egypt Scientific Visit Group Workshop slated for April. The agency is also planning to present Korea’s strategies to promote public acceptance of nuclear power and practices of public acceptance activities through exchange programs with countries wanting to introduce nuclear power plants.
The agency also plans to spread awareness of the Korean nuclear power industry through exchanges with nuclear power exporters and enhance Korea’s export competitiveness. It will expand exchanges in non-generation areas and establish a foundation that is friendly to Korea’s nuclear power. Lastly, the agency plans to hold public debates and sessions with foreign experts in the energy and environment fields to discuss about the safety of Korean power plants, exploring social consensus and future direction, and conduct international cooperation activities to raise the trust of pending nuclear power policies.