Greenpeace: Korea should avoid nuclear nightmare

Press release - 2011-06-07
Incheon — Greenpeace today said Korea can avoid facing the nuclear nightmare that hit neighboring Japan if the country starts revolutionizing its energy resources towards clean renewable energy.

Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior is planning to tour Korea on its "Nuclear-Free Korea" campaign, visiting communities around nuclear plants, including candidate sites, and showing solidarity for communities living under the constant threat of a nuclear meltdown.

Korea has some of the oldest nuclear power plants in Asia and is on its way to building more.

"It's a mistake for Korea to continue gambling its future with nuclear energy. Korea's advanced and innovative multinationals can be a driving force for a better planet. Rather than supporting and investing in dangerous nuclear energy, they should invest in the future of clean renewable energy," said Prentice Koo, Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace East Asia.

After completing its nuclear radiation monitoring mission in Japan, Greenpeace experts and ship crew reported their findings on radiation levels in the communities, crops, air, water and marine life around the nuclear-stricken Fukushima prefecture of Japan.

Foremost amongst their findings were:

  • Radiation monitoring showed seaweed radiation levels 50 times higher than official limits, raising serious concerns about continued long-term risks to people and the environment from contaminated seawater.
  • Most fish and shellfish tested by Greenpeace were found to contain levels of radioactivity above legal limits for food contamination.
  • Greenpeace radiation monitoring teams also found radiation levels above official limits in vegetables collected from gardens near Fukushima City, Koriyama and Minamisoma, and from a supermarket in Fukushima City.

"Fukushima's nuclear meltdown destroyed lives and communities. Its impact on humans and the environment, especially vegetables, seaweed, shellfish and fish, will linger for decades to come. We must now put an end to the dangers of nuclear energy," said Stan Vincent, Greenpeace nuclear expert, who was a member of Greenpeace independent radiation monitoring team in Fukushima.

And just before the Fukushima nuclear crisis, another independent test conducted by Greenpeace in Chernobyl showed local food such as mushroom and dairy were still seriously contaminated with radioactivity, 25 years after the disaster. Greenpeace tests found that milk from Chernobyl samples were still contaminated with Caesium-137 up to 6.5 times the legal limit, while the radiation of dry mushrooms was 115 times over the allowable limits.

During the tour, the Rainbow Warrior will stop at the cities of Yeongwang, Kori, Wolseong and Uljin, where existing nuclear power plants are located, as well as the cities of Yongduk and Samchuk, where new nuclear plants are being proposed. Greenpeace will organize meetings with local groups as well as participate in local solidarity events.

"We want to visit places around nuclear power plants to show communities the deadly impacts of nuclear power. We will also bring the message that every year spent on nuclear power is another year spent courting the next Fukushima crisis," said Mario Damato, Greenpeace East Asia’s Executive Director.

Greenpeace is one of the most influential environmental organizations in the world, with 41 offices across Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Pacific. Greenpeace recently inaugurated its Seoul office which will introduce campaigns on climate and energy as well as protection of our oceans.

Contact information

For Korean: Jun Kwong Song, Greenpeace Ship Tour coordinator
+82 (0)10 9556 1351

For English: Rashid Kang, Regional Development Manager
+82 (0)10 7265 9471