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S. Korea seeks U.S. certification for nuclear reactor

All Headlines 11:00 November 24, 2009

SEOUL, Nov. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is seeking a "design certification" from the United States for a domestically made nuclear reactor, the Seoul government said Tuesday, hoping it will help overseas sales of the power unit.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said receiving the certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will highlight the safety standards of the Advanced Power Reactor-1400 (APR-1400).

"The certificate is an internationally accepted recognition for safety and would fuel exports of the reactor," the ministry said in a press release.

Kang Young-chol, head of the ministry's nuclear energy bureau, will bring up the matter when he meets NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko in Washington on Wednesday.

South Korea operate 20 commercial reactors and is currently building four APR-1400 units to meet the country's growing electricity demands. The United Arab Emirates, which wants to start commercial nuclear power generation, has shown interest in the 1,400-megawatt reactor.

The state-run Korea Electric Power Corp., which is responsible for South Korea's nuclear energy program, is in the process of submitting a formal request for the certification. If accepted, the overall review process by the regulatory commission can take several years depending on type of the reactor.

A number of foreign companies, including GE-Hitachi, Areva and Mitsubishi, have pending certification requests for their reactor units.


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