Korea signs pact to give nuclear help to India

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Korea signs pact to give nuclear help to India


Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, greets visiting Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil before their talk at the Blue House in Seoul yesterday. [AP/YONHAP]

Korea and India have signed a nuclear cooperation pact, a milestone for Seoul’s efforts to export its nuclear power stations to the fast-growing, energy-hungry economy.

President Lee Myung-bak and India’s President Pratibha Devisingh Patil discussed the two countries’ expanded cooperation during a summit at the Blue House yesterday. After the meeting, an agreement for peaceful use of atomic energy was signed by the two governments.

India currently operates 20 nuclear reactors to produce 4,780 megawatts and six more are under construction to add the capability of 4,800 megawatts. The country plans to expand its nuclear power generation capacity to 63,000 megawatts by 2032. After the signing ceremony of the pact, Patil said she was very impressed by the safety of Korea’s nuclear plants and the highly positive evaluation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Nuclear energy supplies 40 percent of Korea’s electricity, and we have put forth steady efforts to improve the efficiency of reactors and develop technology to come to the current level,” Lee was quoted as saying by Park Jeong-ha, Blue House spokesman. “The recent IAEA safety inspection confirmed that Korea’s nuclear technology is world class, like that of the United States.” As of now, Russia, France and the United States have won bids to build nuclear plants in India.

In 2009, Korea Electric Power Corporation signed a memo with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited to enter the market. Lee visited India in January last year and pushed forward the nuclear cooperation agreement during his summit with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “With the signing of the agreement, the legal groundwork for the two countries’ nuclear cooperation has been completed,” Park said. The civil nuclear cooperation deal is considered the first step to enter India’s atomic energy market and to receive a plant site allocation. “Although it will take some time, we believe it is possible to sign a construction contract if India allocates a site for a plant to be built with Korean technology,” Park said.

During the summit, Lee also expressed his hope for the Korean companies’ expanded participation in major infrastructure projects in India. He also sought the Indian government’s support to realize Posco’s project to build a 12 million-metric-ton steel mill in the eastern state of Orissa. The two leaders agreed to reinforce political and defense industry cooperation. They noted the improved economic exchanges between the two countries after the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, promising to work together to ease import restrictions.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

한국형 원전, 인도 수출 길 열렸다

MB - 파틸 인도 대통령 회담
양국 원자력협력협정 체결

인도는 원자력발전소 20기(4780MW)를 가동 중이다. 현재 6기(4800MW)를 건설하고 있으며 2032년까지 원전 발전량을 6만3000MW로 늘린다는 계획이다. 그런 인도와 한국이 25일 원자력협력협정을 체결했다. 이명박 대통령과 국빈 방한 중인 프라티바 파틸 인도 대통령이 지켜보는 가운데 김성환 외교통상부 장관과 스리쿠마르 바네르지 원자력청장이 협정문에 사인했다. 국가들이 원전과 관련한 거래를 하기 위해선 반드시 원자력협력협정을 맺어야 한다. 청와대가 “이제 인도 원전 시장에 진출하기 위한 법적 기반이 구축됐다”고 말하는 건 이 때문이다.

인도의 경우 특정 국가에 원전 부지를 배정, 그 나라가 타당성을 검토해 원전을 건설하게 하는 방식을 택하고 있다. 러시아·미국·프랑스는 이미 부지를 배정받았다. 청와대 관계자는 “이번 협정 체결로 우리도 인도 정부로부터 부지를 배정받는 게 가능해졌다”고 말했다.

이 대통령은 정상회담에서 “ 양국의 원자력협정은 큰 의미가 있다”고 평가했다. 파틸 대통령은 “ 한국의 안전한 원전 발전 모습 이 매우 인상적”이라고 말했다고 한다.

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