Russia, S Korea discuss atomic energy cooperation in Seoul

SEOUL, August 24 (Itar-Tass) —— The 15th meeting of the Russian-South Korean Joint Coordinating Committee on Atomic Energy Cooperation completed its work in Seoul on Wednesday.

The two countries hold the forums of the kind alternately – in Moscow or in Seoul – on the basis of the intergovernmental agreement signed in 1997.

“Our agreements with South Korea on atomic energy cooperation are getting ahead gradually and rather constructively,” head of the Russian delegation to the talks and Deputy Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) Petr Shchedrovitsky told Itar-Tass in an interview, summing up results of the forum.

“It is necessary to understand that the countries with the developed atomic energy sector are responsible for the safety of the operating nuclear power plants, and for the development of new technologies,” he said.

“With this in mind, we can say that major aspects of interaction are in the spheres of science and technologies, or those projects, which at the next stage are expected to raise the efficiency of decisions used in the sector,” the head of the delegation said.

Touching upon details, Shchedrovitsky mentioned that the above-mentioned decisions should embrace radio-technologies, including the use of the radioactivity and irradiation effectives in the healthcare, the environmental protection and material sciences.

In his words, the meeting “considered 22 issues, including the legal basis of the atomic energy development, fuel and radioactive waste management, behaviour in case of emergencies, and so on.”

Undoubtedly, the issue of nuclear safety in the light of the accident at the Fukushima-1 NPP caused by powerful earthquakes and tsunamis.

On Tuesday, Director of the Moscow Representative Office of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre Andrei Rachkov told Itar-Tass in an exclusive interview that Moscow and Seoul have intensive interaction in the supplies of fuel for South Korea’s nuclear power plants, while more than 30 percent of fuel import account for Russia.

“This sphere still remains the major area of atomic cooperation with the Republic of Korea,” he said. “Bilateral interaction in the above-mentioned sphere also includes inspection of fuel cells.”

“Russia has the State Scientific Centre ‘Research Institute of Nuclear Reactors’ in Dimitrovgrad [Ulyanovsk region], which inspects those fuel assemblies of nuclear power plants,” Rachkov said, adding, “Koreans send there their samples for testing.”

Touching upon other spheres of cooperation, he pointed to “the interaction in the sphere of nuclear medicine, which came to a halt recently.”

Rachkov is confident that in the near future Russia and South Korea may start competing in the construction of nuclear reactors in the world.

“Currently, Russia pursues rather aggressive policy in the world aimed at the promotion of its nuclear power plants abroad,” he said, adding, “Russia seeks to build nuclear power plants in India, China, Turkey, Bulgaria, Armenia and Belarus.”

“Now, South Korea is not a competitor on this market. But Koreans plan to build their nuclear power plants in the Middle East, in particular in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,” Rachkov said.

The coordinating committee will convene for its next meeting in Moscow in 2012.


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