February 25, 2015 10:08
The U.S. must now ask Korea's permission if it wants to build or export a nuclear power plant with Korean technology, it was reported Tuesday.
The minor concession will be included in the revised nuclear agreement between the two countries, which is being finalized.
Korea already needs U.S. consent if it wants to build or sell a nuclear plant overseas. The new provision makes that requirement partly mutual.
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in a meeting with a delegation from the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations on Monday claimed the revised agreement will be "mutually beneficial."
"This means the U.S. needs prior consent from Korea if it uses Korean technology in the nuclear energy sector," a Foreign Ministry official said.
The provision reflects substantial changes in the nuclear sector over the past two decades.
Despite being the world's largest nuclear energy producer with about 100 nuclear plants, the U.S. has lost substantial ground due to anti-nuclear measures since 1993. It has since relied on outsourcing production of components and can build no more nuclear plants on its own territory.
Instead Korea has emerged as a global player in nuclear technology, and Korean parts or patents are often vital to efficient power generation.
The bilateral agreement signed in 1974 bans Korea from enriching uranium and reprocessing its own spent nuclear fuel.
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