Stop attacking the BAI
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The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and its chief Lee Nak-yon has embarked on an attack on the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) which questioned the validity of closing the aged Wolsong nuclear reactor and found procedural problems in the economic evaluation last year. The DP ratcheted up offensive after the BAI expanded investigation on the government’s designing of a long-term energy supply blueprint.
The offensive was triggered by a report that found radioactive hydrogen isotopes at 18 times the recommended levels in the spent fuel storage pool at the Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant. KAIST nuclear engineering Prof. Jeong Yong-hoon said such an amount would mean that residents of Wolsong would have been exposed to radiation amounting to six bananas or 1 gram of anchovies.
The DP’s pressure on the BAI over the radioactive leak is excessive. The BAI’s inspection centered on the economic evaluation of the reactor, not safety. The BAI launches an inspection after setting the period and target of its inspection. Questioning why it had neglected the safety issue cannot be appropriate.
The government has been acting irrationally whenever the nuclear reactor issue comes up. Officials from the Energy Ministry had been ordered to delete 530 files related to economic reports on nuclear reactors. Lee Yong-gu, who had defended former Energy Minister Baek Woon-kyu, has been seated as the vice justice minister. The government tried to oust Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl after he ordered a re-investigation into the Wolsong case following his suspension from active duty for two weeks. Now it’s the BAI’s turn.
Energy is a policy that affects public lives and the future of the country. Nuclear phase-out has seriously damaged companies and led to mushrooming in solar panels. The LNG price spike could lead to higher electricity bills. If these changes come from poor decision-making, the decisions must be undone. The prosecution and BAI must find the truth fast. The Energy Ministry has been accused of destruction of evidence. The ruling party must stop meddling with investigations.
Safety can be examined through a separate investigation. The two must not be confused as that would confuse the people.