In connection with the NPT, the Safeguards Agreement between Korea and the IAEA has been in force since 14 November 1975. In 1975, only 2 nuclear facilities, TRIGA II and III research reactors, were under IAEA safeguards. However, because of the active nuclear power program in Korea, 33 facilities are now under IAEA safeguards.
As an active measure to maintain the increase use of nuclear material and facilities, a national inspection system was introduced to respond to all international obligations and to ensure international transparency and credibility of nuclear activities in Korea.
The Technology Center for Nuclear Control (TCNC) was established at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in 1994 to develop safeguards technology and to provide technical assistance to the Government. In 1996, MOST authorized TCNC at KAERI as the technical assistant agency for national safeguards implementation.
In addition, each nuclear facility or installation has designated a person in charge of safeguards, which was strongly recommended by the Government to strengthen the State's System of Accounting for and Control of nuclear material (SSAC). Even though the Government is at the top and the center of the Korean SSAC in terms of hierarchy, it is the close cooperation amongest organizations and institutions that has made safeguards implementation succeed in Korea.
National inspection were performed for 7 facilities in 1997 on a trial basis and were carried out for 13 facilities in 1998 as an intermediate step before full implementation. During these periods, necessary elements such as inspection criteria and procedures, inspection equipment, and inspection information management system were developed for full scope national inspection.
In 2001, the full scope national inspection was performed for 33 facilities. Although the national inspection system in Korea needs to be further developed, its benefit is already foreseen. Advanced inspection equipment have been developed for efficient and effective inspection both for the IAEA and Korea. Since 1999, Korea has accomplished 95% of the IAEA safeguards inspection goal attainment. In October 2001, Korea and the IAEA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of enhanced cooperation for light water reactors.
As of October 2002, a total of 17 nuclear power units were in operation, and three units are under construction. A further eight units are to be constructed from 2003. Korea has around 15 GW of nuclear power capacity, which accounts for 28.0% of its total electric power capacity. To enhance the safety and to cut the costs of nuclear power plants, Korea has developed an advanced power reactor with a capacity of 1,400MWe, called APR1400, on the basis of technological self-reliance of the 1,000MWe Korea Standard Nuclear Power Plant (KSNP) in 1995. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company(KHNP), the sole consumer of nuclear fuel in Korea, has a basic guideline to ensure the nuclear fuel supply and to pursues the economic efficiency at the same time by applying an international open bid.
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