Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from Malcolm Wicks MP, Minister for Energy, Department of Trade and Industry to the Chairman

  I am writing to inform you that, on 21 December 2005, delegations of the European Commission and KEDO (Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation) agreed on the text of an agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and KEDO on Euratom's continued membership of KEDO in 2006. The negotiations were conducted by the Commission, with the UK Presidency closely involved. The Commission was authorised by the Council to open negotiations on a limited renewal of Euratom participation in KEDO through the adoption of Council decision 15523/05 ATO 128 CONOP 58.

  Negotiations between the Commission and the KEDO Secretariat on the prolongation, for a maximum of one year, of the Euratom KEDO agreement, which expired on 31 December 2005, were held on 20 and 21 December at the KEDO HQ in New York. All KEDO Executive Board Members agreed that Euratom would not have to share in costs resulting from the termination of the Light-Water Reactor project. Euratom is only meeting cost relating to the funding of the Secretariat whilst it winds the organisation up. The Executive Board recognised that a Euratom contribution to KEDO's administrative budget during KEDO's liquidation process in 2006 constitutes further substantial and sustained support to KEDO. Euratom shall contribute 10 per cent of KEDO's Administrative Budget in KEDO's 2006 fiscal year up to a maximum of $1 million.

  Under the new agreement, KEDO's activity will be limited to the termination of the Light-Water Reactor project as soon as possible and the winding up of KEDO itself in an orderly manner before the end of 2006. There will no longer be nuclear industrial interests concerned.

  KEDO is an international consortium set up in March 1995 under an agreement between USA, Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan. In December 1995 KEDO reached an agreement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) to supply a Light-Water Reactor Project. Euratom joined KEDO in September 1997. KEDO's primary purpose was to implement a 1994 agreement with the United States (the "Agreed Framework") whereby North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear programme in exchange for two new pressurised light-water reactors (LWR's) which are considered less capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.

7 February 2006

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