June 12, 2012 11:58
Korea holds its annual meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Jeju from Tuesday to Thursday, where the two sides will form a mutual cooperation arrangement. The meeting aims to ensure nuclear transparency for a country where all nuclear materials are used for peaceful purposes only.
The IAEA runs similar programs with individual nuclear power plants or reprocessing facilities in advanced countries, but Korea will be the first country to sign a comprehensive arrangement for joint use of safeguards equipment and data with the IAEA, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said on Monday.
This means the transparency and reliability of Korea's nuclear non-proliferation measures have been recognized internationally, which will work in favor of Korean exports of nuclear power plants as well as negotiations with the U.S., the commission added. Under the arrangement, Korea can expect to be subject to fewer inspections.
Since 1991, Korea and the IAEA have met annually either at IAEA headquarters in Vienna or in Korea to check safety of nuclear materials and facilities here.
Je Mu-sung, a professor of nuclear engineering at Hanyang University, said, "The arrangement with the IAEA will give Korea greater momentum to export nuclear power plants and make it much easier to negotiate with the U.S. so the country can reprocess its own spent nuclear fuel."
The U.S. does not want Seoul to reprocess its own spent nuclear fuel for fear that the plutonium extracted in the process could be used to make nuclear weapons.
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