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Nations Sign On to International Cooperation for Safe Expansion of Nuclear Energy Worldwide

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman and senior international officials from 16 nations today agreed to increase international nuclear energy cooperation through the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).  China, France, Japan, Russia and the United States, who are original GNEP partners, as well as Australia, Bulgaria, Ghana, Hungary, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Ukraine signed a "Statement of Principles", which addresses the prospects of expanding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including enhanced safeguards, international fuel service frameworks, and advanced technologies.

"Through GNEP, we are joining governments of the east and west, north and south in pursuit of a common goal: the safe, global expansion of nuclear power," Secretary Bodman said.  "Today's Ministerial sets our nations on a path to address issues of nuclear fuel services and infrastructure development and work to share the benefits of nuclear power worldwide."

The second GNEP Ministerial was held in Vienna, Austria ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference this week and was attended by 38 nations and three international organizations.  Senior international energy officials participated in sessions focused on reliable fuel services and infrastructure, which are considered integral to GNEP's development.  In order to address all aspects of fuel services, officials agreed to form a Nuclear Fuel Services Working Group under GNEP, which will focus on practical measures and benefits for comprehensive fuel services, such as fuel leasing and other arrangements for spent fuel management.  Officials also discussed steps to provide guidance or technical assistance for assessing countries' infrastructure needs, while consulting with the IAEA.  Officials agreed to form a Nuclear Infrastructure Development Working Group under GNEP to address the challenges that nuclear power poses in the financial, technical and human resources of many countries.

The Executive Session led by U.S. Secretary Bodman focused on the development of the partnership.  Member countries discussed the structure of the GNEP partnership and plans for future membership expansion.

Today's ministerial follows a GNEP Ministerial meeting earlier this year in Washington, DC where Chairman Ma Kai of the People's Republic of China (National Development and Reform Commission); Chairman Alain Bugat of France (Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique); Minister Sanae Takaichi of Japan (Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, Science and Technology Policy, Innovation, Gender Equality, Social Affairs and Food Safety); Deputy Director Nikolay Spasskiy of the Russian Federation (Federal Atomic Energy Agency); and Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman agreed on a joint statement for a path forward toward increasing the use of safe, reliable and affordable nuclear power worldwide.

GNEP, first announced by President Bush in 2006, is part of his Advanced Energy Initiative, which aims to change the way we power our lives by utilizing alternative and renewable fuels to increase energy, economic and international security.  GNEP seeks to develop worldwide consensus on enabling expanded use of clean, safe, and affordable nuclear energy to meet growing electricity demand. GNEP proposes a nuclear fuel cycle that enhances energy security, while promoting non-proliferation.   Read additional information on the Statement of Principles and the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

Media contact(s):

Megan Barnett, (202) 586-4940