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    US-Korea Nuclear Roundtable
    Korea’s Global Uranium Ambitions: Involvement and Investments in Overseas Projects
    August 15, 2014

    With increasing domestic requirements and aspirations to become a global supplier of nuclear power technology, the Korean nuclear industry has been very active as of late in engaging with overseas uranium mining and enrichment projects. For instance, in 2010, KEPCO purchased a 10% stake in an AREVA uranium mine in Niger for an agreed offtake of 500 tU per year to exclusively supply Korea’s NPPs. In 2009, KEPCO purchased a 2.5% minority stake in AREVA’s Georges Besse II enrichment centrifuge facility, guaranteeing KEPCO’s access to production. KEPCO has also signed MOUs with and purchased stakes in Denison, a Canadian-based mining corporation, and is also the single largest shareholder of Energy Fuels Inc., a US uranium company. These activities have primarily been driven by a heightened desire for fuel supply security and to support Korea’s reactor export activities. In addition to overseas engagement, Korea has also considered development of domestic uranium resources with foreign partners—Australian-based Stonehenge Metals recently signed an MOU with a Korean resource development organization to conduct tests and pre-feasibility studies on ROK uranium deposits. Although considerable policy and market uncertainties remain, the aforementioned developments indicate Korea’s growing ambitions to assume greater control over front-end processes.