Protesting policy and practice in South Korea’s nuclear energy industry

Lauren Richardson, Mel Gurtov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Japan’s March 2011 (3/11) crisis spurred a revival in anti-nuclear activism around the globe. This was certainly the case in South Korea, Japan’s nearest neighbour, which was subject to some of the nuclear fallout from Fukushima. This chapter examines the puzzle of why the South Korean anti-nuclear movement was apparently powerless in the face of its government’s decision to ratchet up nuclear energy production post-3/11. It argues that its limitations stem from the highly insulated nature of energy policymaking in South Korea; the enmeshing of nuclear power in the government’s ‘Green Growth Strategy’; and certain tactical insufficiencies within the movement itself. Notwithstanding these limitations, the movement has successfully capitalised upon more recent domestic shocks to the nuclear power industry, resulting in a slight, yet significant, curtailing of the South Korean government’s nuclear energy capacity targets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalThe Asia-Pacific Journal
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • nuclear energy
  • Fukushima
  • anti-nuclear movement
  • South Korea
  • US-Korea alliance
  • Fukushima disaster


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