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S. Korea, U.S. to hold first nuclear energy committee meeting Thursday

All Headlines 09:50 April 12, 2016

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the U.S. will hold the first general meeting of their high-level committee, charged with enforcing a bilateral nuclear energy partnership accord, this week in Seoul, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The inaugural session of the High Level Bilateral Commission will be held on Thursday, led by Second Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. Some 80 officials and experts on atomic energy policy from each side will attend the meeting.

"The two countries have been preparing for the launch of the committee and its first general meeting based on the shared recognition that the successful operation of the committee will be the most crucial factor for achieving the goal of the nuclear energy pact," the ministry said in a press release.

The nuclear energy accord, reached last year, allows Seoul to expand its peaceful nuclear activity through research into a nascent nuclear-reprocessing technology, known as "pyroprocessing." The U.S. also agreed to continue discussions on allowing South Korea to produce low-enriched uranium.

The deal was struck after years of grueling negotiations as some in the U.S. worried about its effect on the country's nonproliferation drive.

The high-level committee was launched last month as the two sides agreed to set up four panels under it to handle four major issues: managing spent nuclear fuel, securing nuclear fuel supplies, exporting nuclear energy plants and ensuring nuclear security.

During the first general meeting, each panel will finalize their terms of reference and work plans, Seoul officials said.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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