S. Korea, Finland vow to enhance tech ties on high-level radioactive waste

SEOUL– South Korea and Finland agreed Friday to deepen technology cooperation on treatment of high-level radioactive waste, as the Seoul government has sought to expand nuclear power generation, the industry ministry here said.

The consensus was reached during a working-level teleconference between the two sides, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The two nations have been working together on the matter in earnest since July when South Korea devised a long-term roadmap on high-level radioactive waste that calls for earmarking 1.4 trillion won (US$989.46 million) by 2060 to secure key technologies for waste disposal.

During Friday’s meeting, the two sides exchanged opinions on the roadmap, including ways to better persuade residents to be affected by the construction of related facilities, and vowed to beef up technology exchanges and joint research on the development of key disposal technologies, according to the ministry.

“Finland said that the roadmap is expected to help South Korea safely deal with radioactive materials and boost public confidence, and expressed the nation’s willingness to continue bilateral cooperation throughout the whole process,” the ministry said in a release.

The European nation is scheduled to begin operation of the world’s first underground nuclear fuel repository built at a depth of about 450 meters.

South Korea’s conservative government has pledged to revitalize the atomic industry to ensure energy security and reduce carbon emissions, reversing the liberal predecessor’s policy to phase out nuclear power.

Experts said South Korea is several years behind major nations regarding nuclear waste disposal and related technologies.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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