Sunday, July 24, 2011

Korea, India to sign nuclear energy pact

Korea and India are set to sign a nuclear energy pact that will allow local firms to enter the multi-billion nuclear energy market in the South Asian country Monday.

President Lee Myung-bak and his Indian counterpart Pratibha Devisingh Patil will attend the signing ceremony on the sidelines of summit talks to be held at Cheong Wa Dae earlier in the day.

During the summit, the two leaders will discuss ways to expand ties in the defense industry, cultural areas and human-to-human exchange programs.

After the summit talks, representatives of the two governments will sign a nuclear energy pact at a ceremony that Lee and Patil will attend.

The Indian president arrived in Seoul Sunday for a four-day visit at Lee’s invitation.

The two governments began talks to ink the agreement on nuclear energy in June last year when Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visited Seoul.

Governments are required to sign a bilateral agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy to enable their firms to access the nuclear energy market in their counterpart nation.

After such a deal is done, Korean businesses will be eligible to take part in bids to build nuclear power plants in India.

As one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, India reportedly plans to build 12 nuclear reactors by 2020 to meet soaring demand for electricity.

Last year, Korea signed a similar pact with South Africa which announced plans to construct several nuclear reactors.

Korea, which operates 21 nuclear reactors, won a deal to construct four nuclear reactors in Abu Dhabi in December 2009, marking its first export of nuclear technology. Nuclear plants provide about 40 percent of Korea’s electricity.

After the historic deal, the government has pushed for the export of nuclear energy technology to countries such as Jordan, Turkey, and Malaysia.

Source: The Korea Times

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