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S. Korea, Britain in talks over nuclear power plant construction project

Diplomacy 16:51 May 03, 2022

SEOUL, May 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state utility Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) said Tuesday it has been in talks with Britain over Britain's plan to build nuclear power stations.

Director-level officials of KEPCO visited Britain earlier this month and met with British officials on the nuclear power plant construction plan, according to KEPCO.

"We would analyze its profitability and other values before making a decision on the participation," a KEPCO official said.

The Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported Monday that Britain's Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, met with KEPCO officials to discuss South Korea's investment in the British nuclear industry.

But KEPCO officials said the recent meeting was more like a working-level one, as the envisioned project is still in its early stage.

Britain seeks to boost its energy security, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had an impact on energy supplies in Europe. Russia's state-owned gas producer Gazprom has cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, as the countries refused to pay for shipments in rubles.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants up to eight new nuclear reactors to be built in his country by 2050 to supply up to a quarter of projected electricity demand, according to the Daily Telegraph.

In March, South Korea's President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol and the British prime minister vowed to deepen digital, industrial and military cooperation, as well as make joint efforts to denuclearize North Korea, during their telephone talks.

Yoon has vowed to scrap a nuclear phase-out policy and make the country a powerhouse in nuclear power generation.

In 2009, a KEPCO-led consortium won a US$20 billion contract to build four nuclear reactors in Barakah, 270 kilometers west of Abu Dhabi, marking South Korea's first export of its homegrown commercial atomic power plant.

In March, the United Arab Emirates started commercial operations at the second unit of the South Korean-built Barakah nuclear power plant. The first Barakah unit began commercial operations in April 2021.

This AFP file photo shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) visiting Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Bridgwater on April 7, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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