South Korea and the United States have opened the second round of negotiations to revise the 1974 civil nuclear cooperation agreement set to expire in 2014.
During the two-day meeting, the two sides, headed by Seoul's former Multilateral Affairs Deputy Minister Cho Hyun and the US Special Adviser for Nonproliferation and Arms Control… Robert Einhorn,… were to first assess the outcome of the previous meeting in Washington last October.
At the initial roundtable, Seoul and Washington had agreed to conduct a separate joint study on pyroprocessing, a technique which could dramatically reduce high-grade nuclear waste when reprocessing spent fuel for recycling.
There will also be in-depth discussions on the basic framework and negotiating mechanism for the new pact, as well as ways to enhance technological, industrial and commercial cooperation between the two allies.
But thorny issues concerning spent fuel reprocessing and enrichment, and transferring the material to a third country are not expected to be raised at the current stage.
The 37-year-old deal bans Korea from reprocessing its own nuclear fuel waste, with efforts to prevent a possible production and proliferation of weapons-grade nuclear material.
And Seoul has proposed pyroprocessing as a solution to resolve its lack of storage space for spent nuclear fuel.
[Reporter : Choi You-sun
firstname.lastname@example.org] "With negotiations expected to continue on Friday, Korea's dramatic rise to become a leading producer and exporter of nuclear power over the past 40 years and Washington's trust in Seoul's peaceful use of atomic energy will certainly be major factors taken into consideration.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News."