Seoul, Jan 14 (Yonhap) South Korea and the United Stateshave agreed on a 10-year joint study on the issue reprocessingspent nuclear fuel with a new, proliferation-safe technology,an official said here.
A nuclear accord signed with the US in 1974 preventsSouth Korea from reprocessing fuel from civilian nuclearplants. With the accord set to expire in 2014, Seoul andWashington have been in talks to rewrite the agreement sincelast year.
At the first round of talks in October last year, SouthKorea and the US agreed to launch joint research on Seoul''sdemand to adopt what is known as "pyroprocessing" technology,which is considered by some to be less conducive toproliferation.
The two sides also agreed to separate the pyroprocessingissue from talks on revising their nuclear accord called theKorea-US Atomic Energy Agreement.
"Apart from talks on revising the Korea-US Atomic EnergyAgreement, experts from the two nations agreed to start jointresearch on the pyroprocessing technology for 10 years," LeeKyung-ryeol, head of a task force in charge of talks onrevising the nuclear accord at the Ministry of Foreign Affairsand Trade, said at a forum in Seoul yesterday.
"With the results of the joint research, a decision willbe made on whether the Republic of Korea could adopt thepyroprocessing technology in the future," Lee said, referringSouth Korea by its official name.
In the face of growing nuclear waste stockpiles and itsambition to become a global power in the civilian nuclearindustry, South Korea hopes to adopt pyroprocessingtechnology, which leaves separated plutonium, the mainingredient in making atomic bombs, mixed with other elements.