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U.S. and South Korean cooperation in the world nuclear energy market : Major policy considerations

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  • U.S. and South Korean cooperation in the world nuclear energy market
  • Holt, Mark
  • Congressional Research Service


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Title U.S. and South Korean cooperation in the world nuclear energy market
Similar Titles
Sub Title

Major policy considerations

Material Type Reports
Author(English)

Holt, Mark

Publisher

[Washington, D.C.]:Congressional Research Service

Date 2010-01
Pages 14
Subject Country United States(Americas)
South Korea(Asia and Pacific)
Language English
File Type Link
Original Format pdf
Subject Industry and Technology < Energy
Government and Law < International Politics
Holding The Asia Foundation

Abstract

A South Korean consortium recently signed a contract to provide four commercial nuclear reactors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), signaling a new role for South Korea in the world nuclear energy market. The $20 billion deal indicates that South Korea has completed the transition from passive purchaser of turn-key nuclear plants in the 1970s to major nuclear technology supplier, capable of competing with the largest and most experienced nuclear technology companies in the world. The South Korean government reportedly has established a goal for South Korea to capture 20% of the world nuclear power plant market during the next 20 years, and the importance placed by Seoul on the UAE contract was underscored by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s presence at the signing ceremony in the UAE.
In the 1970s, South Korea launched its nuclear power program through the government-owned Korea Electric Company (now Korea Electric Power Corporation, KEPCO), which purchased the country’s first nuclear power units from Westinghouse. In the early years of the Korean nuclear program, Westinghouse and other foreign suppliers delivered completed plants with minimal Korean industry input. After the first three units, Korean firms took over the construction work on subsequent plants, although the reactor systems, turbine-generators, and architect/engineering services continued to be provided primarily by non-Korean companies. In 1987, KEPCO embarked on an effort to establish a standard Korean design, selecting the System 80 design from the U.S. firm Combustion Engineering as the basis. Combustion Engineering won the competition for the Korean standard design contract by agreeing to full technology transfer, according to KEPCO. The technology transfer program resulted in the development of the APR- 1400 power plant, which is the design purchased by the UAE. (The rest in omitted)