RPI Scholar Scott Snyder: How to End the U.S.-South Korea Nuclear Energy Impasse in 3 Steps

RPI Scholar Scott Snyder: How to End the U.S.-South Korea Nuclear Energy Impasse in 3 Steps

us-rokWith the United States and South Korea at a loss how to end talks on their future nuclear energy ties, Nuclear Debates in Asia project scholar Scott Snyder offers a way forward. In a Policy Innovation Memorandum for the Council at Foreign Relations, where he is a senior fellow for Korea studies, Snyder outlined three steps that may allow the United States and South Korea to continue their collaboration on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy despite an on-going dispute over how South Korea handles U.S.-origin nuclear material.

To accomplish this diplomatic breakthrough, Snyder suggested to:

      • Make the results of the U.S.-ROK joint study on spent fuel methods, including the viability of pyroprocessing, the basis for determining whether or not the United States will provide advanced consent to alter U.S.-origin nuclear fuel in a new agreement.
      • Make negotiations on the renewal of the U.S.-Japan nuclear cooperation agreement in 2018 the benchmark for cooperation between the United States and countries with advanced nuclear power industries. 
      • Encourage South Korea to purchase an investment stake in a fuel-enrichment service provider, such as the new Urenco enrichment plant currently being built in the United States.

This innovative strategy, Snyder argued, would allow South Korea to reap the energy security and economic benefits of its robust domestic nuclear industry, for the two allies to expand their nuclear trade, and for the United States to develop “a consistent standard for cooperation with advances nuclear countries.”

Please click here to read the full Policy Innovation Memorandum.

Be sure to follow the Rising Power Initiative’s Nuclear Debates in Asia project on Twitter @westmyer and this blog as events develop for more news and analysis.