S Korea, India ink civil nuke agreement

More cooperation in space science, IT

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said that Seoul perceived civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi as ‘productive’, not only for itself, but also for India.

Lee is currently on a tour to India. He will be the chief guest on the Republic Day ceremony on Tuesday. “This is (civil nuclear programme) an area, which will be very productive for both of us,” he told journalists after a meeting with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

The South Korean President also met President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President Hamid Ansari Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj later. 

After the delegation-level talks between Lee and Singh; both sides signed an agreement on transfer of sentenced persons and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in Information Technology and services. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) signed another MoU for cooperation in peaceful use of outer of space. A programme of collaboration in science and technology for 2010-2012 was also signed, with the both sides agreeing to create a dedicated fund of US $ 10 million (with a contribution of US $ 5 million by each side) to promote joint research.

According to the joint statement issued at the end of the talks; Singh and Lee shared the view that nuclear energy could play an important role as a safe, sustainable and non-polluting source of energy. They agreed to facilitate development of a framework for bilateral civil nuclear cooperation.

South Korea’s state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) is keen to export its APR-1400 reactors to India. The KEPCO and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) have been engaged in a joint study of “licensibility and constructability” of APR-1400s in India over the past few months.

During his discussions with Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister, Lee is believed to have highlighted the KEPCO’s expertise in building and running nuclear power plants and the safety records of its APR-1400 reactors.

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