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FUKUI , JAPAN - The Department of Energy today announced that the United States signed a sodium-cooled fast reactor systems arrangement with France and Japan, providing the framework for collaboration among these countries on the research and development of these advanced nuclear reactors.  The signing of the agreement took place on February 16, 2006.

This arrangement will support the development of technologies associated with the U.S.-led Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), announced earlier this month by Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman.  GNEP is a comprehensive strategy aimed at increasing U.S. and global energy security, encouraging clean development around the world, reducing the risk of nonproliferation, and improving the environment.

"The signing of this arrangement is a key accomplishment that will hopefully garner international collaboration for developing innovative nuclear energy concepts," said R. Shane Johnson, Acting Director, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology and chairman of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Policy Group.  "Expanding the generation of new nuclear technologies will allow the benefits of initiatives like GNEP to span the globe."  

The first-of-its-kind arrangement was signed following a three-day meeting this week of the GIF Policy Group in Fukui, Japan, with the ten GIF member countries.  The agreement provides the framework for GIF countries to participate in collaborative research and development on sodium-cooled fast reactor technology. 

The GIF Forum is an important component of President Bush's comprehensive energy strategy, to investigate innovative nuclear energy concepts for meeting future energy challenges.  The ten member countries include: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. 

For more information on this and other DOE nuclear energy initiatives please visit the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology's website at

Media contact(s):

Craig Stevens, 202/586-4940