On May 13, 2020, the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation (P-TEC) Civil Nuclear Energy Working Group held its first webinar meeting, co-chaired by Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy and Dr. Elena Popescu, General Director for Energy Policies Department, Romanian Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Business Development. 

U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Adrian Zuckerman, and Romania’s Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Development, Victor Popescu, welcomed representatives from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine and the European Commission. They expressed their enthusiasm for the Working Group’s coordination in areas of mutual interest, particularly noting the opportunity for substantive discussion on the European Union’s taxonomy of nuclear energy projects for sustainable financing.

Dr. Popescu underscored the importance of the synergy the Working Group provides for countries in the region, “I am committed to this Working Group’s mission to implement a plan that addresses a number of key challenges that are common to countries in Central and Eastern Europe.  Together, we can exchange best practices in nuclear energy safety regulation, technology development and deployment, financing options and sustainability, nuclear fuel diversification and waste management.”    Dr. Baranwal highlighted the importance the United States’ places on the PTEC Working Group, “Advancing cooperation in the nuclear field among P-TEC countries is vital to defining common options for developing and deploying new builds.  Advanced nuclear power generation technologies, in close cooperation with our industries, will serve as a model for regional cooperation and innovation."

The Civil Nuclear Energy Working Group members concretized a plan to identify and implement specific cooperative projects amongst the represented countries on a wide array of nuclear energy topics. Member countries will work in small groups on mutual areas of interest to include enhancing cooperation in advanced reactor technologies; communicating nuclear energy’s role in clean, integrated energy systems; assessing the viability of licensing and management of Long-Term Operations and, addressing the technical and policy issues related to the management of nuclear waste.

The Civil Nuclear Energy Working Group is one of four working groups created to support focus in critical areas of interest. P-TEC was launched by former U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry in September 2018, in Bucharest, Romania, as a complementary effort to the Three Seas Initiative, aimed at enhancing energy security and resilience through an essential transatlantic cooperation. The Working Group was initially created with the United States and Romania as co-chairs and three member countries during the second PTEC Ministerial held in Lithuania in October 2019. This webinar meeting was held as an alternative to the two-day meeting which was scheduled to take place in Bucharest in March 2020.  A full Working Group meeting is anticipated to be rescheduled in due course following the COVID-19 restrictions.