Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman had a meeting last week with South Korea’s Science Minister Kim Woo-sik. According to an article published on August 11, 2007 in Yonhap News titled S. Korea, U.S. to cooperate on 4th generation nuclear reactor, fuel reprocessing the two men talked about a bilateral agreement under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) umbrella.
South Korea is a very capable nuclear plant designer, builder and operator in its own right – it has built 19 plants in the years since the US stopped building commercial nuclear power plants. It has excellent quality control programs and a vast manufacturing sector that also includes some very extensive shipbuilding facilities.
According to the article, what intrigues the South Koreans is the opportunity to export more nuclear components to the US and the opportunity to learn more about sodium cooled fast reactors and pyro-processing. They are also interested in smaller reactors that could be used in developing markets.