1. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jongmoon, head delegate of the Republic of Korea, and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Al Mazrouei, head delegate of the United Arab Emirates, chaired the 4th ROK-UAE High-Level Consultation on Nuclear Cooperation (HLC) on January 26. The delegates from both sides discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation on nuclear energy.
o Given the COVID-19 situation, the consultation was held in a virtual format, bringing together officials of relevant ministries and organizations, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Science and ICT, and the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission from the ROK side; and the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and Nawah Energy from the UAE side.
2. Recalling that the two countries recently agreed to continue to develop the “special strategic partnership” during President Moon Jae-in’s recent visit to the UAE (15-18 Jan.), both sides reaffirmed their commitment to work closely together to enhance nuclear cooperation between the two countries through this HLC.
3. Prior to this Consultation, the two sides had reviewed the progress on cooperation and future plans in the separate meetings of the three Working Groups (WGs), and the WGs shared the outcomes of the WG meetings at the Consultation today.
o The WG 1 (on the construction of nuclear power plants and overseas nuclear projects) agreed to expand cooperation in the fields of nuclear power plants operation and management and to strengthen the partnership for a joint entry into overseas market by forming a Joint Bidding Team.
o The WG 2 (on nuclear R&D) agreed to commence the two joint research projects in the Q1 2022 – One is on Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF), and the other is on Novel Coating for Cooling Components that the two sides agreed to carry out in the last meeting. Additionally, the group has also agreed to undertake additional joint research project, Studies on Concrete Degradation Modeling.
o The WG 3 (on nuclear security, safety and regulation) shared the need to strengthen cooperation between the nuclear safety regulatory organizations of the two countries, as both have the same types of reactor running. They agreed to broaden the partnership by sharing experiences in regulation as well as cooperating in nuclear security education and training and so forth.
4. In addition, as the two sides agreed to move forward new cooperative projects, such as the ROK-UAE Youth Nuclear Capacity Building Council and a discussion on a joint research project on Small Module Reactors, the 4th High-level Consultation on Nuclear Cooperation has laid the foundation for future-oriented nuclear cooperation between the two countries.
o In the meeting, the two countries also noted that bilateral nuclear cooperation is going forward smoothly despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
5. Both sides agreed to continue discussing ways to hold the 5th meeting in person in the ROK this year while keeping a close eye on the pandemic, and to have the Working Groups faithfully implement the measures discussed today.