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S. Korea expresses interest in Czech nuclear project

2017/10/30 15:00

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By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government expressed its intent Monday to join a bid for the Czech Republic's nuclear project, stressing its advanced reactor design and decadeslong know-how in development and operation.

Paik Un-gyu, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, met with President of the Czech Republic's Senate Milan Stech to discuss ways to expand cooperation in the nuclear energy and other industrial sectors.

Their meeting came as the state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. has been actively marketing its nuclear reactors in the eastern European country, which is expected to open a bid in late 2018. The scope and schedule of the project is not yet confirmed.

"South Korea is keen on joining the Czech's nuclear plant construction project and hopes to contribute to its nuclear industry's development," Paik was quoted as saying during the undisclosed meeting.

Paik stressed that South Korea has 40 years of nuclear reactor development and operation expertise, and shared the government's plan to support overseas projects, the ministry said.

The Seoul government has vowed to support local companies' bids to export nuclear reactors overseas, in a move to ease concerns that the domestic nuclear phase-out plan could adversely affect efforts to newly secure contracts.

Following the meeting, the Czech politician will inspect a nuclear plant complex in Ulsan and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., both located on the southeastern coast, the ministry said.

Earlier this month, Jan Stuller, the Czech's special envoy for nuclear energy, and other regulators visited Korean nuclear complexes to inspect the facilities and their safety.

Czech media have reported South Korea, China, Russia, France and Japan have shown interest in the nuclear project.

The Czech Republic has six nuclear reactors generating about one-third of its electricity and plans to expand the ratio of nuclear energy to over 50 percent in 2030, according to the World Nuclear Association.

ejkim@yna.co.kr

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