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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy today announced continued progress at the conclusion of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership's (GNEP's) second Steering Group meeting.  Representatives from twenty-eight countries and three intergovernmental organizations attended the two-day meeting in the Kingdom of Jordan hosted by the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission.  The Steering Group discussed the formation of a third Working Group on the development of grid-appropriate reactors in order to promote the development of advanced, more proliferation-resistant nuclear power reactors appropriate for the needs and capabilities of countries with limited resources or small and medium electric power grids.  Actions will be undertaken to pursue formation of such a Working Group and to present the proposed Working Group to the Executive Committee for its consideration and approval.

"The continuing progress made by the Steering Group and Working Groups is an example of GNEP's steady progress from a concept to a fully functioning international partnership.  It is truly exciting to see these groups collaborate on nuclear issues," Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon said.  "Nuclear power must not only remain, but increase as part of our national and global energy mix.  It's proven to be safe, reliable and emissions-free and is a crucial component for a secure energy future."

The Steering Group opened with remarks by the Prime Minister of Jordan, His Excellency Nader Dahabi.  The two-day meeting consisted of full progress reports from the two existing Working Groups that were established at the first GNEP Steering Group meeting last December at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria.  The two Working Groups brought together a host of experts to take a hard look at fundamental subjects that are at the core of GNEP's goal.  The Working Groups addressed two of the timely and important issues facing the safe and secure global expansion of civil nuclear energy: Infrastructure Development and Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services.  Both Working Groups presented program plans to the Steering Group outlining initial activities, defining potential near-term impacts and identifying the long-term challenges in their respective areas relative to nuclear power's global expansion.

The first round of Working Group meetings were held in March and April 2008, bringing together numerous experts from GNEP partner and observer nations.  The Infrastructure Development Working Group meeting took place this March in Vienna, Austria, and began the cooperative activities to identify and address critical elements needed for the implementation of an effective nuclear energy infrastructure.  GNEP's Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services Working Group met in April in Wilmington, North Carolina, and began activities aimed at reaffirming international supply frameworks to enhance reliable cost-effective fuel services and supplies to the world market, fostering future energy development.

The GNEP Steering Group also worked to set the agenda for the next Executive Committee or "ministerial" meeting expected to take place this fall.  The agenda for the Executive Committee will cover a range of issues, including identifying further areas of cooperation for the partnership, the next round of GNEP invitees, and resources that GNEP partners can provide as cooperative activities continue to increase.  Attendees in Jordan included 19 of GNEP's 21 members, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States, as well as nine observer nations, Argentina, Germany, Belgium, Egypt, Mexico, Netherlands, Slovak Republic, South Africa, and Spain and three international organizations.

GNEP was announced by President Bush in February 2006, and includes key domestic nuclear research and technology development programs as well as international policy collaboration.  Currently, 21 partner nations have joined the effort to globally expand nuclear power and help meet growing energy demand in a safe and secure manner, while at the same time reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation and responsibly managing spent nuclear fuel.

Read further information on the GNEP International Partnership.

For further information on DOE's other nuclear energy programs, visit DOE"S Office of Nuclear Energy.

Media contact(s):

Angela Hill, (202) 586-4940