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On Tuesday, the Administrative Court of Seoul, capital of South Korea, ordered the national government to cancel the decision to extend the life of Wolsong Nuclear Plant No. 1 to 2022, because the body that determined the extension did not respect legal proceedings.
The court ruling responds to a collective lawsuit submitted by local inhabitants living near the plant and South Korean social organizations, concerned over potential security problems.
The reactor, the second oldest in the country, is located in Gyeongju city (North Gyeongsang Province), 400 kilometers to the South-East of Seoul. The reactor was closed down in 2012 after ending its 30 year commercial operative span. However, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) extended its activity for another 10 years, until November 2022, and in June 2015 Wolsong 1 restarted operations.
The Administrative Court of Seoul assessed that the Security Commission had not respected legal proceedings and ruled in favor of the group of local inhabitants who demanded to nullify the resolution extending the nuclear plant´s operations.
Over 2000 residents of areas near the nuclear plant participated in the collective lawsuit, although the Court recognized that those who live up to 80 km from the plant were suitable to file the legal complaint. Korea Federation for Environmental Movements / Friends of the Earth Korea and other civil society organizations participated in the lawsuit against the Security Commission.
According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the Commission announced that it will appeal the court ruling because it considers that its decision-making process was appropriate. Meanwhile, an officer of state company Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation stated that electricity production in Wolsong 1 has been low, so its closure will have an insignificant effect on electric supply, according to Yonhap.
There are currently 23 nuclear reactors in South Korea that supply the country with 30 per cent of the electricity needed.
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