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KHNP fails to hold board meeting on suspension of plants construction

KHNP fails to hold board meeting on suspension of plants construction

Posted July. 14, 2017 07:17,   

Updated July. 14, 2017 07:33


Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) failed to hold its board of directors’ meeting to discuss the temporary suspension of planned construction of Shin-Kori Nuclear Power Plant Units 5 and 6 in Ulju County in Ulsan City due to strong objection by KHNP’s labor union and local residents. Although the board has decided to discuss whether to hold another meeting, it appears that the current controversy will continue for the foreseeable future as voice of objection against planned construction is only growing.

The board of directors’ meeting slated to be held at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday at KHNP’s headquarters in Gyeongju City, North Gyeongsang Province was canceled. At around 3:05 p.m., KHNP Board of Directors Chairman Cho Seong-hui and four non-executive directors tried to enter the front gate of KHNP’s headquarters to no avail due to KHNP’s unionized workers who blocked their entrance. “The decision will be made after we listen to what KHNP says in the meeting,” said the chairman. “We cannot just abandon our workplace this way,” said the union while blocking the gate. Some 150 unionized workers gathered at the lobby of the headquarters and shouted, “Stop the suspension of construction.”

Previously, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy sent an official letter to KHNP, requesting to temporarily stop the construction of Shin-Kori Units 5 and 6 for three months of gathering public voice. While the board was to discuss this issue and make decision on Thursday, the decision will have to be made later as the board failed to hold the meeting.

In just 10 minutes of arrival at the Gyeongju headquarters, KHNP’s board members had to give up entering the building and leave the place at around 3:15 p.m. “Some say that the decision can be made without holding the meeting by just gathering the opinion of members, which is not true,” said Chairman Cho. "It is mandatory to hold the meeting which is why we are perplexed." Outside the front gate of KHNP were some 400 local residents from Ulju County to hold a rally to object construction suspension.

KHNP’s board of directors consists of 13 members in total out of which six executive directors are executives at KHNP and seven are from outside. If seven or more members are present and the four out of the present members are in favor of the agenda, the construction of planned plants will stop while the public hearing is held.

At the moment, KHNP plans to set another date for the meeting. Sources from KHNP say that it is possible to hold the meeting at the venue outside of the Gyeongju headquarters as there’s precedent for doing so.

Hye-Ryung Choi herstory@donga.com