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Seoul, Washington to cooperate on overseas nuclear plant projects

By Korea Herald

Published : May 22, 2021 - 11:43

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Shown in this undated file photo released by Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) is the first reactor of the Barakah nuclear plant of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). (Korea Electric Power Corp. ) Shown in this undated file photo released by Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) is the first reactor of the Barakah nuclear plant of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). (Korea Electric Power Corp. )
South Korea and the United States announced said Friday they will broaden cooperation in the nuclear energy sector to penetrate deeper into overseas markets.

"We commit to develop cooperation in overseas nuclear markets, including joint participation in nuclear power plant projects, while ensuring the highest standards of international nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation are maintained," the two countries said in a joint statement.

The statement came in line with the summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Joe Biden held at the White House on Friday.

"As part of our earnest effort to ensure supply of nuclear power, the ROK and the United States commit to co-participate in overseas nuclear markets by promoting coordination in the supply chain," a separate fact sheet released by the two countries also said.

The ROK refers to South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

The fact sheet added that the two countries will adopt a common policy to "require recipient countries have an IAEA safeguard agreement Additional Protocol in place as a condition of supply of nuclear power plants."

The IAEA refers to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the two countries will continue to hold follow-up talks to carry out the agreement reached during the summit.

The ministry said that based on South Korea's successful export of homegrown commercial atomic power plants to the United Arab Emirates, the latest agreement will give an extra boost for South Korean firms setting eyes on the global energy market.

In 2009, a South Korean consortium won a contract to build four nuclear reactors in Barakah, 270 kilometers west of Abu Dhabi. The first reactor kicked off its commercial operation in April.

South Korea has been making efforts to penetrate deeper into the overseas nuclear energy market in line with efforts to find new demand, as it has been slowly reducing its local dependence on nuclear plants.

South Korea plans to reduce the number of nuclear plants at home to 17 by 2034 from the current 24 in line with its green energy drive. (Joint Press Corps)