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Seoul to host forum on NE Asian nuclear safety

South Korea plans to host an international forum on nuclear safety next week to discuss ways to enhance safety in Northeast Asia, a region packed with nuclear power plants, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Thursday.

The symposium, to be held in Seoul on Wednesday, will bring together around 200 government officials from countries including China, Japan and Russia as well as experts in the private sector, the ministry said.

The four-session forum will mainly discuss how to cope with institutional and organizational challenges to promote nuclear safety in the region, it added.

The move is in line with South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s proposal to create a cooperative channel to promote nuclear safety in Northeast Asia.

Park made the proposal during an address on Aug. 15, saying that the cooperative body, to be led by Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo, could also invite the participation of the U.S., Russia, North Korea and Mongolia.

The envisioned meeting would be the second of its kind, expanding from annual discussions on nuclear issues among South Korea, China and Japan, which have been held since 2008. The first closed-door forum was held in Japan in September.

Nuclear safety is also one of the main areas of nonpolitical cooperation dealt with by a regional peace initiative proposed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, dubbed the Northeast Asia Peace Cooperation Initiative.

Nuclear power plants in the three nations account for 20 percent of the global total, raising the need to seek cooperation over nuclear safety in the region, the ministry said.

Nuclear safety has become a hot topic following a nuclear accident in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture in 2011. South Korea operates 23 nuclear reactors and aims to raise the number to 34 by 2024. (Yonhap)
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