Last update:

Gyeongju nuclear waste site, South Korea


Since 1986 Korean's governments were looking for a nuclear storage site for low-medium radioactive waste. A site close to the historic city of Gyeongju (former capital in Silla dynasty) was eventually chosen.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Gyeongju nuclear waste site, South Korea
Country:Republic of Korea
Location of conflict:Gyeongju
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Nuclear waste storage
Specific commodities:Nuclear Waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

By 2010 the first 1000 drums of waste were stored at the site . up to 100 000 drums will eventually be stored

Project area:210
Level of Investment:$290 million (see comments below)
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:Approximately 300 000
Start of the conflict:2003
End of the conflict:01/12/2005
Company names or state enterprises:Korean Nuclear Agency
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MEST)
The Korean Atomic Energy Commission (KAEC) is the highest order policy-making body on nuclear matters.
South Korea's Prime Minister is the chairperson overseeing such matters[6].
As of 2009, all nuclear waste disposal falls under the authority of the Korean Radioactive Waste Management Company.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Korean Federation of Environmental Movements
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Referendum other local consultations
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Referendum of local population
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Like many EJ conflicts, mobilisation failed to alter course of government decision. Cooptation was one of the main factors, through high government investment in local affected area.
Local population was consulted through referendum but in return they were promised money for compensation.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Korean Herald:Nov. 3, 2005

Korean Times: Geongju to Host Nuclear Dumpsite Nov 2 2005

Radioactive Waste Management in Korea, Tae-Jin Park and Jong-Won Choi

Radioactive Waste Disposal Research Division, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI)

May, 2012, Hacettepe University
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Law in Action, Underground Nuclear Waste Disposal Facing Problems in South Korea
[click to view]

Gyeongju, South Korea wins competitive referendum for waste storage facility
[click to view]

Korea's First Nuclear Waste Facility Opens in Gyeongju
[click to view]

[click to view]

Other documents

View of the site Source:
[click to view]

Other comments:Government declared that it would inject $290 million into the local economy as compensation
Meta information
Contributor:Louis Lemkow
Last update03/05/2014
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.