A new Clean Energy Partnership between the UK and South Korea, together with nine memorandums of understanding regarding cooperation in nuclear energy, have been signed during a state visit by Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to the UK. The construction of Korean-designed reactors in the UK will be considered.

The signing of the Clean Energy by UK Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho (left) and Korea's Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy, Bang Moon Kyu (Image: @ClaireCoutinho)

The Clean Energy was signed in London by UK Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho and Korea's Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy, Bang Moon Kyu. It will see the two countries strengthen cooperation on shared ambitions across the clean energy transition, low-carbon technologies, civil nuclear and domestic climate policies.

Among the areas for cooperation, the partnership will see the UK and Korea commit to strengthening cooperation on civil nuclear, including on large-scale, small-scale and advanced reactors, decommissioning and waste management, and supply chains.

It follows the signing in April of a joint declaration by the UK and South Korea stating their agreement on the need for energy transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon power sources, prospects for South Korea's participation in new UK nuclear power plant projects and the two countries' exchanges and cooperation in offshore wind power, hydrogen and other clean energy areas.

The UK and Korea signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in 1991.

"The UK and the Republic of Korea already have a strong relationship on energy security and tackling climate change," Coutinho said. "The new partnership will see us collaborate even more closely, driving forward shared plans to accelerate clean energy sources, like renewables and nuclear power."

"This partnership shows that the UK is serious about working with one of the leading civil nuclear nations as we ramp up nuclear capacity to meet energy security and net-zero targets and work together to drive Russia from the global nuclear fuel market," said Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the UK Nuclear Industry Association. "The Republic of Korea's nuclear industry has a global reputation for delivering large-scale nuclear projects swiftly and efficiently, be it at home or overseas.

"We will be looking to emulate that success to meet our own 24 GW target by 2050, and the Republic of Korea could be a very strong partner in that endeavour. We hope this partnership can be the foundation for further nuclear collaboration between our two nations."

Flurry of MoUs

South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy noted a total of nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs) related to nuclear cooperation were signed between the UK and Korea during Yoon's visit.

An intergovernmental MoU signed by Coutinho and Bang "designates new nuclear power plant construction as a key area of ​​cooperation" and calls for mutual cooperation between Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO) and the UK Atomic Energy Agency.

Eight further MoUs were signed between companies and institutions of both countries, it said. These cover all aspects of nuclear energy, including the design and construction of nuclear power plant, operation and maintenance, nuclear fuel, waste management and decommissioning, as well as industrial and academic exchanges.

Under an MoU signed between engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald and KEPCO Engineering & Construction (KEPCO E&C), the two companies will work together to explore the potential construction project of a future large-scale nuclear project in the UK. Mott MacDonald will support KEPCO E&C in regulatory licensing and permitting, and site development, by providing UK context to the nuclear new build programme.

KEPCO E&C and Mott MacDonald are working together to deliver the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE, which comprises four Korean-designed APR1400 reactors.

"The potential development of a future large-scale nuclear project could be a critical step in the UK achieving its target of 24 GW of nuclear capacity by 2050," said Mott MacDonald CEO James Harris. "The combination of our long history of major energy infrastructure delivery, alongside KEPCO E&C's best in class nuclear technology, ensures we are ideal partners to help transform the UK's energy landscape, providing low-carbon power and greater energy security for generations to come."

"To enter the UK's expanding nuclear power plant market, cooperation with a partner with expertise like Mott MacDonald is key," added KEPCO E&C President and CEO Sung-Arm Kim. "We expect our collaboration to create synergies such as reducing the period for licensing of the nuclear power plant construction project in the UK."

Meanwhile, the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the Korea Radioactive Waste Agency (KORAD) have signed their second cooperation statement.

The agreement will support various types of cooperation related to radioactive waste management, used fuel storage and disposal and decommissioning. It includes: the exchange of scientists, engineers and other specialists for participation in agreed research, development, analysis, design and experimental activities; exchanging and providing information and data on science and technology research and stakeholder engagement activities; and observation of, and participation in, relevant studies and/or developing joint studies through shared funding or contributions in kind.

"It was an honour to host our counterparts from KORAD and reinvigorate our commitment to work together," said NDA CEO David Peattie. "We have world-leading expertise in the field of nuclear decommissioning and international collaboration is hugely beneficial, to enable and enhance the safe, secure and sustainable delivery of our decommissioning mission."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Thursday, 23 November 2023
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/South-Korea,-UK-agree-to-bolster-nuclear-cooperati