Hundreds of members of a jury formed to deliberate President Moon Jae-in's proposal to scrap two unfinished nuclear power reactors are set to enter a three-day debate camp this week in a crucial final step to determine whether to kill or continue the project.
The 478-member jury, formally known as the "citizens' participation group," has since last month been familiarizing themselves with the pros and cons of the controversial proposal to abandon the construction of the Shingori-5 and Shingori-6 reactors in the southeastern city of Ulsan.
Starting Friday evening, they are scheduled to spend two nights together for final debates. The camp, set to be held at the Gyeseongwon retreat training center in the central city of Cheonan, is crucial because participants are expected to make up their mind depending on the debates.
Officials plan to conduct two surveys asking the participants whether the reactors' construction should continue or end, at the beginning and end of the camp. Results are expected to be the main basis of a recommendation that a state commission plans to make on the reactors' fate next week.
During the camp, participants will hear briefings by experts, take part in group and plenary discussions, and hold question and answer sessions, according to officials of the commission charged with overseeing the process.
They will also be shown videos of those calling for continuing and ending the project, such as residents near the reactors' site and future generations, officials said.
In an effort to reduce South Korea's dependence on nuclear energy, Moon proposed scrapping the reactor project. The government then established the independent commission charged with gauging public opinion on the proposal and suspended the reactors' construction until a decision is made.
The commission plans to unveil its recommendation on Oct. 20. Government officials have said that they will fully endorse whatever recommendation the commission makes.
The reactors were about 28.8 percent complete before the construction was suspended in July.
The proposal to scrap the reactors' construction sparked heated debate in a country that relies on nuclear reactors for about a third of its electricity. Proponents say the country should phase out nuclear power for safety and environmental reasons, but opponents say it will lead to a shortage in the power supply and a spike in electricity bills, and that too much money has already been spent on the construction. (Yonhap)