Seoul contributes to protect Ukraine's nuclear plants
“In order to support the safe operation and security of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant, as the country is currently under military threat from the war, four related ministries in Korea jointly decided to provide support worth about $1.2 million through the International Atomic Energy Agency,” the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
The Foreign Ministry, with the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the National Safety and Security Commission, announced the decision in Vienna during an IAEA Board of Governors meeting taking place from Monday through Friday.
The money will be used to dispatch IAEA personnel or purchase equipment and materials necessary for securing the safety and security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine, managing radioactive waste, and implementing safety measures, according to the Foreign Ministry.
There are four nuclear power plants in Ukraine, with 15 pressurized water reactors, according to the Nuclear Energy Agency.
Of particular concern earlier was the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl power plant, where the world’s worst nuclear accident took place in 1986.
Heavy fighting in the area in February caused global concern over another possible nuclear disaster.
Ukraine has repeatedly asked Korea for lethal weapons. But Korea has provided Kyiv only with humanitarian relief and non-lethal military supplies such as bulletproof helmets, blankets and medical supplies.
The request was made again during Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dmytro Senik’s meetings with Korean officials in Seoul this week. Senik met with Foreign Minister Park Jin in Seoul on Wednesday and with Lee Do-hoon, second vice foreign minister, on Tuesday.
“During the meeting, the Ukrainian side expressed gratitude for our support and requested arms support and participation in reconstruction of the nation,” said a Foreign Ministry official in speaking with the press about Tuesday’s meeting between Lee and Senik. “Korea has been supporting the Ukrainian people with a focus on humanitarian aid, and we said we will continue to provide support in this way in the future.”
In his meeting with Senik, Park expressed concerns for the Ukrainian people and his hopes that the conflict will end soon, according to the Foreign Ministry.
On Wednesday, Senik also met in Seoul with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who was visiting for a trilateral meeting with her Korean and Japanese counterparts.
In their meeting, Sherman emphasized “robust, continued support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” from the United States, and provided Senik with an update on the U.S. security, humanitarian, and economic assistance “for long-term efforts,” according to the State Department.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]