Park, Saudi King to ink MOU on nuclear reactor

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Park, Saudi King to ink MOU on nuclear reactor

Korea is scheduled to sign a $2 billion deal to export a mini nuclear reactor to the oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia at a summit between President Park Geun-hye and King Salman, the Blue House said on Tuesday.

According to the Korean presidential office, Park was scheduled to meet with the newly enthroned King Salman on Tuesday afternoon at the Erga Palace in Riyadh.

During the meeting, the two leaders were set to discuss a wide range of issues, including the nuclear plant deal.

The two leaders are prepared to ink a memorandum of understanding on a nuclear reactor project between Korea and Saudi Arabia. Known as the System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor (SMART), the 100,000-kilowatt reactor is about one-tenth the size of a large nuclear plant.

“The MOU will allow Korea to build more than two reactors in 2016,” a Blue House official said. “The two countries also plan to create a joint venture to build additional reactors in Saudi Arabia and export more to other countries.

Developed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, the SMART project is intended to export nuclear power generation technology to the countries with dispersed populations or water shortages.

In her interview with the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh, Park also expressed her anticipation that Korea could become an apt partner in Saudi Arabia’s atomic energy policy, referring to Korea’s ongoing project to build a nuclear plant in the United Arab Emirates.

At the summit, Park was also expected to discuss other cooperation and investment projects in the health and medical sectors, as well as in information and communication technologies.

“The summit comes as cooperative relations between the two nations are at their best since diplomatic ties were established in 1962,” the Blue House said. “The meeting will serve as a key opportunity for Korea to build trust with King Salman, enthroned on Jan. 23 of this year, and to seek specific plans for cooperation.”

The two countries are scheduled to sign 14 MOUs, which includes the nuclear reactor project. According to the presidential office, the deals are worth an estimated total of $5.4 billion.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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