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Negotiators agree to minimize civilian use of HEU ahead of nuclear summit
SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- Negotiators from about 50 nations scheduled to participate in March's nuclear security summit in South Korea have reached an agreement "in principle" to minimize the civilian use of highly-enrichment uranium (HEU), Seoul officials said Wednesday.

   The agreement was reached at a two-day meeting of "sherpas" in New Delhi this week and it will be included in a so-called "Seoul Communique" that will be announced at the end of the second Nuclear Security Summit slated for March 26-27, officials said.

An anti-terror drill is conducted on the Han River in Seoul on Jan. 17 as part of government efforts to ensure the successful hosting of the Nuclear Security Summit slated for March in the South Korean capital. (Yonhap)

"At the New Delhi meeting, sherpas agreed in principle to minimize the use of civilian HEU in research reactors, in the medical sector and in other civilian applications," said a senior official at Seoul's foreign ministry who was involved with the meeting.

   Negotiators from the participating nations have been in close coordination to discuss key goals for the Seoul summit and what topics should be included in the "Seoul Communique," based on principles to place nuclear security at the center of the discussion and make new progress, according to the official.

   The Seoul summit will be attended by top leaders from about 50 countries, including the United States, Russia, China, Japan, Britain and France. The main goal of the summit, the second such meeting following one in the United States in 2010, is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism.

   Seoul officials said one of the key topics at the Seoul summit would be how to protect vulnerable radioactive materials worldwide so terrorists could not use them to make a crude nuclear bomb.

   Other key agenda to be discussed in Seoul will include "practical and concrete" ways to prevent the threat of nuclear terrorism and ensure the safety of atomic energy, they said.

   Concerns have persisted over the safety of nuclear energy following widespread radioactive contamination after Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis in March last year.