South Korea can start supplying nuclear technology and materials to India following a peaceful nuclear energy cooperation agreement between the two countries.
The bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement was one of three signed in Seoul on 25 July during a visit by Indian President Pratibha Patil. It was signed by South Korean minister of foreign affairs and trade, Kim Sung-hwan, and the Secretary of India's Department of Atomic Energy, Srikumar Banerjee.
The signing of the cooperation agreement established the legal framework for South Korean companies to start transferring nuclear power-related technologies, materials and equipment to India, said a statement from the office of Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Patil commented, "The Indian civil nuclear energy market is now open for Korean companies providing a new sector for our bilateral economic cooperation."
At a press conference, Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary (East) at India's Ministry of External Affairs, said: "This is a civil nuclear agreement between India and South Korea, like other civil nuclear agreements between India and other countries which have been signed." He added, "So, we look forward to South Korea now becoming one more partner in the development of civil nuclear energy in India."
Following the lifting of a virtual nuclear trade embargo against India in 2008, India has signed similar cooperation agreements with the USA, Russia, France, UK, South Korea and Canada, as well as Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Namibia.
In August 2009, Nuclear Power of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco) signed a series of agreements, including one to conduct a study into the 'licensability and constructability' of Kepco reactors in India. Besides reactor technology, the memorandums between NPCIL and Kepco also covered the development of nuclear projects, operation and maintenance, nuclear fuel as well as the manufacture and supply of equipment. However, no commercial deals could be made until the two countries signed a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement.