Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simulated Nuclear Plant Attack Turns Real

A simulated attack on a South Korean nuclear reactor turned real this week when soldiers posing as North Koreans refused to end hostilities unless massive quantities of food were delivered to the plant.

The attack on Busan's perfectly-safe Gori nuclear facility, which sits on a street in the city's suburbs between a branch of Kimbab Nara and an oncology hospital, was meant to show how South Korean authorities would respond to an assault by North Korean agents. While the military didn't reveal the results of the exercise, citing the need for secrecy, it is believed that the 'North Koreans' easily took control of the facility while South Korean troops - who had responded to the initial alarm - remained stuck in the city's notorious traffic.

The previous evening the perfectly-safe Gori-1 reactor - Korea's oldest - was forced to shut down when a loud electrical issue damaged the plant's circuit breaker. In an apparent admission that similar problems could easily occur, state-owned Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power said in a statement that "The accident was in only one of numerous external electrical systems".

The government has asked the media to downplay the nature of the incident, discouraging the use of the term 'accident' in favor of 'malfunction' or 'happening', although it appears that the state-owned company has yet to receive the memo. The Seoul-based media were also asked to refrain from reporting on the simulated nuclear plant attack, but due to its location The Dokdo Times falls outside the scope of the government's tough reporting restrictions.

The happening at the perfectly-safe Gori nuclear plant came only hours before the simulated attack, but authorities have denied there is any connection between the two. Soldiers occupying the plant, who military officials said simply became overheated with enthusiasm, agreed to leave when food was delivered, and on condition that further talks would be held to discuss the denuclearization on the peninsula.

However, despite its promise of talks, the South Korean government is not thought to be serious about denuclearization. The perfectly-safe 33 year-old Gori-1 reactor was closed in 2007 when it reached the end of its guaranteed design life, but a year later Seoul once again adopted a more belligerent stance when it suddenly re-opened the plant and defiantly threatened to keep it operating until 2017.

In other evidence that South Korea isn't serious about its stated desire to see a 'nuclear-free peninsula', recent wiki leaks suggest that there are plans to build eleven more reactors, joining the twenty-five which South Korea is already believed to possess. Experts say that this gives Seoul the ability to devastate the peninsula several times over.

Because of its location overlooking the East Sea, it was previously believed that any accident at the perfectly-safe aging Gori-1 reactor would spread fallout over Japan rather than Korea. But westerly winds from Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear happening have shown that there may be some unexpected downsides, which have alarmed some in Korea's second-class city of Busan who live near the perfectly-safe nuclear facility. "This reactor is located just 20 kilometers from Haeundae Beach. An accident would cause an unimaginable disaster." wrote the left-wing Hankyoreh newspaper, which supports the denuclearization of the southern half of the peninsula and radiation-free bathing for Korea's upper-middle class journalists.

Related Links
S. Korea simulates N. Korea attack on nuclear site
Malfunction halts aged reactor
Busan's Gori Reactor Number 1 should shut down
Wiki leak: Nuclear power in South Korea
2014 Gori-1 Nuclear Disaster
'Korean reactors broke down 89 times over 10 years'
S.Korea to rank 1st in nuclear plant density by 2024

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