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ISSN : 1738-1894(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5471(Online)
Journal of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology Vol.21 No.3 pp.383-395

An Analysis of Constraints on Pyroprocessing Technology Development in ROK Under the US Nonproliferation Policy

Jae Soo Ryu
Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, 111, Daedeokdae-ro 989beon-gil, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34057, Republic of Korea


Since 1997, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been developing pyro-processing (Pyro) technology to reduce the disposal burden of high-level radioactive waste by recycling spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Compared to plutonium and uranium extraction process, Korean Pyro technology has relatively excellent proliferation resistance that cannot separate pure plutonium owing to its intrinsic characteristics. Regarding Pyro technology development of ROK, the Bush administration considered that Pyro is not reprocessing under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, whereas the Obama administration considered that Pyro is subject to reprocessing. However, the Bush and Obama administrations did not allow ROK to conduct full Pyro activities using SNF, even though ROK had faithfully complied with international nonproliferation obligations. This is because the US nuclear nonproliferation policy to prevent the spread of sensitive technologies, such as enrichment and reprocessing, has a strong effect on ROK, unlike Japan, on a bilateral level beyond the NPT regime for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.





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