The United States and South Korea have renewed the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, the National Nuclear Security Administration announced yesterday.

The cooperation deal – named after section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act – is a prerequisite for nuclear equipment exports by US companies.

"The Agreement would allow the United States and the Republic of Korea to continue peaceful nuclear cooperation, enable expanded cooperation between our respective nuclear industries, and reaffirm our two governments’ shared commitment to nonproliferation" said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

The agreement charts a joint path forward to address critical issues facing both civil nuclear programmes, such as spent fuel management and assured fuel supply, NNSA said.

In addition, it would establish a new high-level bilateral commission for the USA and Korea to work together to advance ‘mutual objectives,’ including addressing spent fuel management, an assured stable fuel supply, nuclear security, and enhancing cooperation between the countries’ nuclear industries.

The USA and South Korea are both world leaders in civil nuclear energy and have a long and productive history of nuclear cooperation. Seoul and Washington have been in talks for over four years to negotiate how to revise the agreement.