Nuclear accord revision sought

March 31, 2013 at 11:24 PM
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SEOUL, April 1 (UPI) -- South Korea is likely to ask United States to revise their civilian nuclear pact to let Seoul reprocess spent nuclear fuel, a source told Yonhap News.

Their agreement currently does not permit South Korea to enrich uranium or reprocess spent nuclear fuel. Not much progress has occurred in this regard since 2010.

The talks on revising the accord could come up this week when South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se visits Washington for meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Yonhap reported Monday, citing a diplomatic source. The Yun-Kerry talks will also be on North Korea and other bilateral issues ahead of the May U.S. visit of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Kerry is also scheduled to visit Seoul this month.

Separately Monday, Chosun Ilbo reported the United States has been wanting South Korea to give up its rights to enrich uranium and reprocess spent fuel rods from its nuclear power plants since it seeks similar response from any government negotiating new nuclear deals.

The current South Korea-U.S. bilateral nuclear energy deal will expire in March of next year. The report said South Korea will try to convince the United States it only wants to produce low-enriched uranium for power generation and reprocess spent fuel rods, which are piling up from its many nuclear power stations.

Park, in her presidential campaign last November, had said she would seek a revision of the accord as it was outdated, the newspaper said.

A senior South Korean ministry official told Chosun Ilbo: "Based on our mutual trust, we should be able to reach a win-win strategy by the May summit" between Park and President Barack Obama.

Park asked for U.S. congressional support for South Korea to expand its "peaceful use" of atomic energy in her meeting last week with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Yonhap said.

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