500-Member Jury Formed To Debate Unfinished Shingori Units

Officials in South Korea said Monday that the jury of 500 expected to decided the fate of two nuclear power plants under construction – Shingori Units 5 and 6 near the city of Ulsan – had been formed, taken from a list of 5,981 survey participants who indicated they would be willing to participate in the decision process.

Shingori NPPThe survey included close to 20,000 original responses. The government of President Moon Jae-in proposed this summer to use the survey to determine which 500 citizens would take place in the decision on whether or not to cancel construction of the two units that were 28.8 percent completed when work was stopped in July on a presidential order. Moon Jae-in, despite protests from environmentalists and academics in South Korea, has plans to phase out nuclear power in the country. Part of that phase out involves halting construction on partially built reactors.

The 500-member jury is expected to participate in an orientation meeting on Saturday, then spend about a month learning about the reactors from both a positive and negative position – pros and cons. They will then debate their findings in a three-day session. In the meantime, the government will subject the group to three surveys – one prior to, one during and one at the end of the process. The government is expected to base its decision on the results of those three surveys, Yonhap News reported.

The confusion over the role of the panel of 500 arose in late July, when the process was announced. At issue was whether or not the panel would have the final say on the issue or whether it would simply be given an advisory role.

After a day of meetings, it was announced that the committee would be granted the role as adviser, not decision-maker. However, it was also widely reported that the government intended to make its decision based entirely on the recommendations of the jury.

The jury is expected to make its recommendations on October 20.

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