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S. Korea court rejects bid to shut nuclear reactor
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Sept 20, 2011

A court Tuesday rejected a bid by local residents to force South Korea's oldest nuclear reactor to shut down immediately over fears of radioactive leaks.

The court in the southern city of Busan said the 30-year-old Gori-1 reactor is safe and being properly managed by its operator, state-run Korea Hydro-Nuclear Power Co, Yonhap news agency reported.

A group of 97 Busan residents had sought an injunction in April after the company decided in 2008 to extend the operations of the reactor, originally designed for only 30 years, for 10 more years.

The residents said extended use could lead to radioactive leaks.

Fears over nuclear power grew worldwide after Japan's earthquake and tsunami on March 11 badly damaged the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Germany in May became the first major industrialised power to agree an end to nuclear power, with a phase-out to be completed by 2022.

"It is accepted that Korea Hydro is currently conducting proper technical management to keep under control potential risks stemming from the continued operation of the Gori-1 reactor," Judge Park Chi-Bong said in his ruling.

The court said major parts prone to wear have been replaced and new technology had been added to improve resistance to an earthquake or tsunami.

South Korea operates 20 nuclear plants, which generate some 35 percent of its electricity needs, and plans to build 12 more over the next 14 years.

The nation has vowed to stick to its atomic power development programme despite heightened concern following the Japanese crisis.

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Chernobyl veterans seek to storm Ukraine's parliament
Kiev (AFP) Sept 20, 2011 - Thousands of Ukrainian veterans of the Soviet Afghan war and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster clean-up tried Tuesday to storm parliament in Kiev in outrage at planned benefit cuts, an AFP correspondent reported.

Organisers said some 10,000 people had joined the protests, which subsided when several ruling party legislators walked out to meet the mostly-elderly group, local media reports said.

The demonstrators broke through barriers manned by helmeted riot police and managed to break glass panes on the main entrance to the Verkhovna Rada parliament building before retreating.

The rally was organised after lawmakers gave initial approval last week to a bill cutting back benefits paid to those who helped clean up the April 1986 nuclear disaster and those who still live on the affected lands.

The measure also slashes spending on war veterans and some other groups of citizens as a part of new austerity measures aimed at steering Ukraine safe of the economic turmoil now rocking Europe.

The measure is being backed the by the ruling Regions Party of President Viktor Yanukovych which is keen to show it has the budget under tight control.

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Tsunami protection wall for Japan atomic plant
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 14, 2011
A Japanese electricity firm is to build an 18-metre (60-foot) high barrier to protect a nuclear plant from tsunamis, the company said Wednesday. Work on the 1.6-kilometre (one mile) long barrier to protect the Hamaoka complex will begin next week and is due to be completed by the end of 2012, Chubu Electric Power said in a statement. Hamaoka, on the Pacific coast around 200 kilometres (1 ... read more

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