South Korea, Malaysia Discuss Nuclear Energy Cooperation

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South Korea’s presidential office said in a press release that South Korean President Lee Myung-bak during a two-day state visit by Malaysian King Mizan Zainal Abidin discussed enhancing cooperation between the two countries in nuclear energy and other economic fields.

Reporting on the bilateral discussions, a presidential official quoted President Lee as saying, “Malaysia has recently successfully overcome the global economic crisis, demonstrating a high level of national competitiveness,” Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korea has been intensifying its efforts to export nuclear power plants since South Korean firms in 2009 were awarded a $18.6 billion contract to build four atomic power plants in the United Arab Emirates after besting U.S., Japanese and French companies bidding for the contracts.

In response, the Malaysian monarch stated that he hoped that bilateral cooperation between the two countries could be expanded beyond its immediate parameters to include such promising new fields as renewable energy and green technologies.

South Korea is seeking to expand its civilian nuclear options, as last week South Korean and U.S. envoys met for a third set of discussions on South Korea’s interest in broadening the scope of nuclear activities it is permitted to conduct through a new bilateral nuclear cooperation deal, expanding the parameters of talks that began last March.

The U.S.-South Korean pact on civilian nuclear energy is due to lapse in 2014, four decades after it was signed. Its terms bar South Korea from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, but Seoul wants any new treaty to permit byproprocessing, a next-generation reprocessing technique which reportedly poses fewer proliferation risks.

Article by Charles Kennedy, appearing courtesy OilPrice.com

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