I have a new article in Science & Diplomacy entitled “Approaches to Nuclear Cooperation: A Review of the U.S.-ROK Agreement,” which examines the US/South Korea 123 Agreement. The piece attempts to distill the context and motivations for both parties and what the agreement means moving forward, both for US/ROK relations, nuclear energy in ROK, and the larger strategic context.
Nuclear energy is a key component for South Korea’s energy security. The country’s strategy for its domestic use, and goal of becoming a proprietor of nuclear energy on the global market, will be a substantial driver for South Korea’s economy. The full-scale development of enrichment and reprocessing, in particular pyroprocessing, in South Korea would have significant impacts, and would not have been appropriate in the near term. Minor expansions to the 123 Agreement allow both countries to move forward with wins.