Opponents claim that pyro-processing and SFR technology are on the decline and have numerous economic and safety limitations
A pyro-processing and sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) research and development project that was created by the South Korean atomic energy community for the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is being reexamined.The Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIP) announced on Dec. 8 that it was “forming a project reexamination committee with seven experts who have not worked in the field of atomic energy to perform an objective expert review of the pyro-processing and SFR research and development project.”The committee plans to conduct a comprehensive review of all aspects of the effort, including its technical and economic feasibility and safety, as well as past research findings, ripple effects, and diplomatic impact, the ministry added. The committee’s seven members are to be neutral experts in areas closely related to pyro-processing, including physics, chemistry, machinery, energy, and the environment.Pyro-processing and SFR technology reduces the amount of nuclear waste by reprocessing spent fuel for reuse as nuclear fuel. The research effort has been carried out at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and elsewhere since 1997. Opponents of nuclear power have demanded a halt, arguing that reprocessing technology is on the decline around the world and claiming numerous economic feasibility and safety limitations with pyroprocessing.A total of 676.4 billion won (US$619.4 million) has been spent to date on the pyroprocessing and SFR research project, with another 40.6 billion won (US$37.2 million) earmarked for next year. During the budget review process, some called for a reduction to the budget due to radioactive contamination and power plant accident concerns. The National Assembly requested that administration gather opinions from experts and the public and reexamine the fate and direction of the project before disbursing the budget.The reexamination committee plans to review research and reports on issues that have been raised and conduct procedures to hear opinions for and against, collect expert opinions, and hold discussions. It also plans to share the data used in the review over an online system and gather opinions for and against the effort.The committee is to hold regular weekly meetings to conduct review activities on an ongoing basis before producing a final general opinion for submission to the MSIP in January 2018.
Source: The Hankyoreh