Canadian, Korean waste organisations agree cooperation

23 August 2019

The Korea Radioactive Waste Agency (KORAD) has signed agreements with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and Canada's Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NWMO) to cooperate on decommissioning nuclear facilities and radioactive waste management.

The signing of the MoU between KORAD and CNL by Lesinski (third from left) and Cha (second from right) (Image: KORAD)

KORAD CEO Sung-soo Cha and CNL President and CEO Mark Lesinski signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Ottawa on 21 August. The signing of that agreement followed the signing of an MoU by Cha and NWMO President and CEO Laurie Swami on 19 August.

Under the agreements, KORAD will cooperate with the Canadian organisations to share technology, experience and information on the decommissioning of nuclear reactors, the transport and interim storage of intermediate-level waste and used fuel, and the final disposal of high-level waste.

The Canadian and Korean nuclear industries' long-standing relationship dates back more than 30 years, since the construction of four Canadian-designed Candu pressurised heavy water reactors at Wolsong. Canadian companies have supported the ongoing maintenance of the Wolsong units, including a major refurbishment of Wolsong 1 completed in 2013. Korea itself is now a major nuclear energy country and is exporting its own nuclear technology, with Korean designed reactors under construction in the United Arab Emirates.

KORAD is a quasi-governmental organisation that was established in January 2009 as South Korea's national agency for radioactive waste management. It is responsible for the transportation, storage, treatment and disposal of waste, as well as site selection, construction, operation and post-closure management of the waste management facility. It falls under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Cha said, "We will strengthen the technology exchange and cooperation with the leading countries in waste management, and secure the trust of the people by securing nuclear decommissioning, used fuel transportation and storage technology and know-how early."

In December 2018, KORAD signed a cooperation agreement with Russia's National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management. This provides for the exchange of scientific and technical information, the results of research and development, as well as the legal, social and ethical aspects of the final disposal of radioactive waste.

Last September, KORAD agreed to extend its existing cooperation and practical arrangements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). After originally signing a practical agreement with the Vienna-based organisation in 2015, KORAD has expanded international exchanges by sending personnel to the IAEA to train specialists in radioactive waste management and international technology exchange, and to carry out projects related to the disposal of high-level waste.

An MoU was also signed last September by KORAD and the Korean Radioactive Waste Society for cooperation in decommissioning and waste management. The organisations have agreed to cooperate in areas such as low, intermediate and high-level radioactive waste management, the training of decommissioning personnel and raising public awareness of activities "creating national interest due to the energy conversion".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News