Over the past 50 years, the Korea Atomic Energy Institute (KAERI) has become a major driving force behind Korea's national economic advancement. The nuclear energy-specialized institute has laid the stepping stones to promote strong economic development by using nuclear energy as a major energy source and strengthening Korea's industrial competitiveness through the transfer of advanced science and technology. KAERI is putting its utmost efforts into the development of nuclear technology for a better future.
On January 19, 2010, KAERI and the Institute of Radiation Problems (IRP) of the Azerbaijan Nation Academy of Sciences signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen technical cooperation between the two institutes. The signing of the MOU was attended by Mr. Adil Garibov, Director of IRP, and Ibrahim Gabulov, Deputy Director of IRP, as well as Yang Myung-seung, President of KAERI and other members of staff.
The signing of the MOU shows the common commitment of KAERI and IRP to strengthen bilateral cooperation in such areas as “Utilization of technologies and equipment for research reactors”, “Application of radiation technology, including radioisotope production”, “Human resources development”, and “Advance nuclear technology for nuclear energy systems, including nuclear hydrogen production and fuel cycles.”
In regard to cooperation, KAERI and ARP agreed to carry out numerous activities, including meetings to discuss specific technical topics and cooperative activities, the exchange of expert and technical information, the assessing of the role of current R&D facilities, and the planning of future facilities.
Azerbaijan is preparing to build its first nuclear reactor for research purposes under the auspices of IRP, and will make a final decision in 2011. IRP was established in 2002 and is the only scientific institution at the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences System and in the Azerbaijan Republic which conducts fundamental scientific and technical research in peaceful nuclear energy use, including radiation safety, radioecology, physio-technical problems of power engineering, non-renewable energy transformation processes, radiation effects in solid matters, and the radioactive study of materials.
In the meantime, a Korean consortium led by the state-run Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and Daewoo Engineering and Construction has been selected as the preferred bidder to build Jordan's first research reactor.
The deal calls for a 5 megawatt reactor to be built at the Jordan University for Sciences and Technology by 2014. The university is located in Irbid, a city 70 kilometers to the North of Jordan's capital, Amman. An official contract is to be signed in March of next year, and the reactor will be used for scientific and engineering studies, as well as the production of isotopes for medical and industrial purposes.
The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) chose the Korean consortium over rival bids from Argentina, China, and Russia. Jordan's decision was in recognition of Korea's high quality techniques based on extensive experience in the nuclear sector.
It marks the first time Korea has been able to win such a contract since the nation purchased a research reactor, TRIGA Mark, II from the United States in 1959. It also highlights the remarkable progress Korea has made in the nuclear energy sector in the last 50 years.
Korea has been operating its 30-megawatt High-flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor (HANARO) since 1995, and has been eyeing export markets in the past few years. Korea has also gained the opportunity to provide 97 percent of a reactor for another country, ranging from design to installation and management. It is also expected to open the way for Korea Inc. to make inroads into the global nuclear power plant market.