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Koreans protest lack of radiation safety measures

SEouL (UCAN): Following a recent radiation leak at a factory at the Noksan Industrial Complex in Busan, South Korea, the Anti-Nuclear Association, accused local government officials of failing to implement effective safety measures.

The association was responding to a report, issued by the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety on January 3, which said that on December 30, radioactive material had leaked from a machine that had developed a crack.

In a press conference outside Busan’s city hall, the group said the leak would not have occurred if stringent regulations and inspections had been in place. It also demanded medical checks for all workers at the industrial complex and noted, “There are about 30,000 workers in the area. This accident poses a serious threat to their health.”

Association spokesperson, Jeong Su-hee, said the leak was an accident waiting to happen. She said, “The factory responsible for the leak was warned about possible dangers by the Institute of Nuclear Safety during an inspection last March. But they did not correct any defects and the inspection was not followed up.” 

She added, “We plan to conduct an independent investigation into the accident and discover whether other factories are using radioactive material.” 

Church representatives also voiced concern. Father Vincentius Kim Jun-han, president of Busan diocese’s Committee for Justice and Peace said, “We will keep monitoring radiation levels in suspected contaminated areas.” He added that the committee would continue various campaigns against the use of nuclear power.

Fears over nuclear power have grown in South Korea since the Fukushima power plant disaster in neighbouring Japan last year. 

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