The Hidden Nuclear Power: South Korea

south korea nuclear plants. Image from IAEA

It will take a “number of years” for South Korea and the United States to evaluate whether it’s good for Seoul to produce low-enriched uranium fuel for power plants on its own under a new nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S., a former American negotiator said Friday.  [In April 2015] Seoul and Washington announced the revision to their 1974 nuclear energy cooperation pact after more than four years of negotiations to reconcile Seoul’s demand for the right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and enrich uranium with Washington’s concerns about proliferation.  The new agreement still bans Seoul from reprocessing and enrichment, but it opens the way for the Asian ally to begin research into a new technology for spent nuclear fuel recycling, known as “pyroprocessing,” and to make low-level enriched uranium with U.S. consent…

Victor Cha, chief Korea analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also said the new agreement still “keeps South Korea’s obligations intact” with regard to the 1991 inter-Korean declaration on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Excerpts from  Chang Jae-soon, ‘A number of years’ needed to evaluate Seoul’s need to produce enriched uranium fuel for power plants: expert, Yonhap News Agency, Apr. 25, 2015

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