Nuclear agreement for Japan and South Korea

21 December 2010

The governments of Japan and South Korea have signed a cooperation agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Japan-South Korea nuclear cooperation agreement (Image: MOFA)
Seiji Maehara and Kwon Chul Hyun
signed the agreement (Image: MoFA)
The agreement was signed by Japan's minister of foreign affairs Seiji Maehara and South Korea's ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul Hyun in a ceremony in Tokyo. According to Japan's Ministry of Forean Affairs (MoFA), the agreement will enable the transfer of nuclear related materials and technologies between the two countries. The minister praised the two countries' non-proliferation credentials and their partnership in ensuring nuclear safety and security.

Japan has 54 operating nuclear reactors and its nuclear industry can boast installations covering the full nuclear fuel cycle including uranium enrichment and reprocessing of spent fuel, although it does not have uranium resources of its own. Like Japan, Korea has no indigenous uranium resources but operates 20 nuclear reactors. Korea's uranium enrichment demand is supplied from overseas facilities, although in 2009 Korea bought a 2.5% stake in Areva's Georges Besse II enrichment plant in France.

Both countries have proven reactor design and construction capability and are working hard to export their plants. Earlier this year, a consortium including Japanese reactor vendors Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Hitachi and Toshiba was set up to help gain orders from emerging nuclear countries, while Toshiba's ownership of US vendor Westinghouse, and Hitachi's nuclear merger with GE, give it a strong presence on the world stage. South Korea is setting its sights on becoming a world player too, aiming to export 80 nuclear reactors by 2030. A South Korean consortium has been selected to supply the United Arab Emirates with its first nuclear power station, four nuclear reactors due to be in operation by 2020.

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News