Administrator works to maintain alignment and expand relationship with a key ally
WASHINGTON – Jill Hruby, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), wrapped up her visit to East Asia Saturday with a trip to South Korea. She discussed national defense, nuclear nonproliferation, and nuclear security with her counterparts, visited key scientific organizations, and hosted a dialogue with several policy experts.
“The relationship between the United States and South Korea is strong, and both sides bring tremendous expertise to the table to solve common challenges,” she said. “As the we move toward a Global Comprehensive Strategic Alliance, it’s important that our two countries can be open with each other on these issues.”
After arriving from Japan and meeting with U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, Hruby then met with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the evolving and expanding bilateral relationship, particularly on regional security. The Administrator used this opportunity to refer to the May Joint Leaders Statement, in which President Biden and President Yoon reiterated their commitment to nuclear energy. The leaders agreed that it was vital for carbon-free electricity production and that the two countries would collaborate on expanding its use while committing to the Additional Protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency with regard to nuclear exports and respecting each other’s intellectual property.
A highlight of the trip was a visit and tour of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) with its leader and the head of Space and Nuclear Energy at the Ministry of Science and Information and Communications Technology (MSIT). They discussed the strong partnership between NNSA and KAERI, which is overseen by MSIT, and future collaborative opportunities. The Administrator thanked them for the important contributions the institute has made to research reactor conversion projects in Europe and Japan and its support on highly enriched uranium minimization.
Administrator Hruby also visited the Korea Institute for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control (KINAC), where she spoke to its president about the strong ties between NNSA and KINAC in nonproliferation and nuclear security. In particular, she praised the work at the International Nuclear Nonproliferation Security Academy, where experts from NNSA and KINAC jointly train officials from around the world on nonproliferation and nuclear security best practices. Hruby also welcomed new ideas from KINAC to build upon the partnership.
Finally, the Administrator hosted a dialogue with several experts from academia, think tanks, and leading institutions that cover the U.S.-South Korea alliance, nuclear and defense policy, and energy security. During the roundtable, she continued her theme of open discussion.
“We face ever-changing risks and challenges in our work every day. We must have diverse perspectives to find the right path,” Administrator Hruby said. “Friends and allies have the responsibility to be open with each other – and to new ideas. That’s how we move forward.”