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WASHINGTON, DC -The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today welcomed the United Kingdom (UK) as the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership's (GNEP) twenty-first partner.  GNEP, a voluntary international partnership, aims to safely and securely expand nuclear power worldwide while responsibly managing nuclear waste and reducing proliferation risks.  U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman met with UK Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Rt. Hon. John Hutton prior to the UK signing the GNEP Statement of Principles in Washington, DC.

"As a long-standing global leader in the field of nuclear energy, the United Kingdom brings to GNEP expertise and knowledge that we can all benefit from," Secretary Bodman said. "This important addition provides great momentum for GNEP and will help advance its important goals of expanding clean, safe nuclear power development while reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation."

DOE most recently welcomed South Korea, Italy, Canada, and Senegal as GNEP partners.  At the second GNEP Ministerial meeting in September 2007, the partnership tripled its size when the original GNEP partners - China, France, Japan, Russia and the United States - signed the GNEP Statement of Principles, along with Australia, Bulgaria, Ghana, Hungary, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and the Ukraine.

"The UK shares in the vision of improved non-proliferation and nuclear waste management and recognizes the real benefits of initiatives such as GNEP to implement the right solutions and further develop international standards and best practice," Business Secretary Hutton said.

The GNEP Statement of Principals addresses the prospects of expanding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including enhanced safeguards, international fuel service frameworks, and advanced technologies.  Nations participating in this cooperation voluntarily engage to share the effort and gain the benefits of economic, peaceful nuclear energy.

The move to join GNEP follows the UK's recent decision to invite companies to submit plans for constructing and operating new nuclear power plants in the region as a way to address increasing electricity demand.  The UK's announcement also comes as the ever-growing international partnership prepares to hold its first Reliable Fuel Services and Infrastructure Development Working Group meetings in the months ahead.  Using the GNEP Statement of Principles as its guide, the Infrastructure Development Working Group aims to identify common interest among partners, recommend practical measures, and carry out activities necessary to address critical elements needed for the development and implementation of an effective nuclear energy infrastructure.  The GNEP Working Group on Reliable Fuel Services will focus on developing practical measures for moving towards reliable, comprehensive fuel arrangements, including spent fuel management.

GNEP was first announced by President Bush in February 2006 and includes key research and technology development programs as well as international policy collaboration.  In this capacity, GNEP serves as an integral part of the Bush Administration's Advanced Energy Initiative, which aims to change the way we power our homes and businesses by utilizing clean energy options, such as nuclear power, clean coal, renewable energy and other resources, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and increase energy and national security.

For more information about GNEP and to read the Statement of Principles, visit the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership homepage.

Media contact(s):

Angela Hill, (202) 586-4940