South Korea court ruling could trigger lawsuits against nuclear power plants

22 October 2014 (Last Updated October 22nd, 2014 18:30)

A court in South Korea has ruled in favor of a plaintiff, who claimed that there is a connection between radiation emitted by a nuclear power plant and cancer. This ruling could lead to similar lawsuits in a country, which depends on nuclear power for electricity.

A court in South Korea has ruled in favour of a plaintiff, who claimed that there is a connection between radiation emitted by a nuclear power plant and cancer.

This ruling could lead to similar lawsuits in a country that depends on nuclear power for electricity.

A claim was made by 48-year-old Park Geum-sun that her thyroid cancer was triggered due to radiation emitted by six nuclear power plants located nearly 8km from her home in Ichon-ri, Kijang, a county in the south-eastern coast.

The written ruling of the court said: "She has lived within 10km of the plants for over 20 years and has thus been exposed to radiation for a long time. Other than the radiation from the nuclear reactors, there's no clear reason for her cancer."

The district court has instructed Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co to pay a compensation of KRW15m ($14,150).

Korea Hydro, which is owned by Korea Electric Power Corp, plans to appeal to a higher court, reports The Wall Street Journal.

"Other than the radiation from the nuclear reactors, there's no clear reason for her cancer."

In a statement, the state-run operator said: "Several medical studies show weak causal relations between the location of reactors and nearby residents' thyroid cancer. Besides, thyroid cancer is the most common female cancer across the nation."

The public concerns over nuclear reactors have been growing since the Fakushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

The first commercial nuclear facility in South Korea was established in 1978.

Although there have been no nuclear accidents in South Korea since then, the residents of the Samcheok, which is located north of Seoul, voted against the government's plan to construct a nuclear plant in the region, reports the publication.

South Korea has 23 nuclear facilities, which cater to one third of electricity requirements in the country. It plans to build another 16 nuclear reactors by 2030.

Energy