The Anti-Nuclear Movement and Ecological Democracy in South Korea

Friday, 20 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Dowan KU, Environment and Society Research Institute, Republic of Korea
This paper analyzes the characteristics of the South Korean anti-nuclear movement in terms of ecological democracy. Campaigns against nuclear waste disposal sites were successful from the 1990s to 2004. However, the local anti-nuclear movement was weakened after the Roh Moo-hyun administration changed the policies. The Roh administration increased economic compensation and adopted residential referendums for nuclear waste disposal sites. On the other hand, the alternative energy transition movement has flourished since the 2000s. The Lee Myung-bak administration has implemented a nuclear power plant enlargement policy. However, the Fukushima accident provided an opportunity to revitalize the anti-nuclear movement and change the political alignment of nuclear issues. Anti-nuclear movement began to get support of the people again on the basis of public concern about the safety of nuclear power. The Moon Jae-in administration declared nuclear phasing out policy in 2017.

The authoritarian developmentalism (1961-1997) was changed to democratic developmentalism under the ‘democratic’ administration (1998-2007). However, ‘the democratic government’ could not change developmentalism to ecological democracy. The regime was retreated to authoritarian developmentalism from 2008 to 2017 May. ‘The candle light revolution’ of 2016-2017 gave an opportunity for anti-nuclear movement to proliferate ecological democracy in South Korea.