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Global Nuclear Energy Partnership Inaugural Steering Group Meeting Makes Marked Progress

December 19, 2007 - 4:58pm

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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon today announced that the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership's (GNEP) first Steering Group meeting last week concluded with measurable progress.  Representatives from the GNEP nineteen countries developed and adopted an Action Plan detailing the groundwork for future Partnership cooperation and Members of the Steering Group elected the United States to serve as the chair of the group and China, France, and Japan to serve as vice-chairs.  This three day meeting was held at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, with all of GNEP's nineteen members, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine and three international organizations as observers in attendance.

"I am extremely pleased with the progress the GNEP Steering Group achieved in such a short time," Assistant Secretary Spurgeon said following conclusion of the meeting.  "GNEP is making progress and accomplishing many of the objectives for international cooperation that were envisioned when first set out by the Bush Administration last year.  The important work conducted by this group will help foster the expansion of clean and reliable nuclear power worldwide, while reducing the threat of proliferation."

As a result of the meeting, the Steering Group's Action Plan outlines initial priorities, mechanisms for executing cooperative efforts, and initial milestones for cooperative activities.  Specifically, the Action Plan names two key working groups to address issues facing the safe and secure global expansion of civil nuclear energy: the GNEP Working Group on Infrastructure Development and the GNEP Working Group on Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services.  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 Nuclear Fuel Services will identify common interest among GNEP Partners and recommend practical measures for moving towards reliable, comprehensive fuel arrangements, including spent fuel management.

The United States will serve as Chair for two years and the Vice-Chairs - China, France, and Japan - will serve the same duration. The Chair and Vice-Chairs will support the stewardship of Steering Group activities responsibilities, including actions in response to the GNEP Executive Committee and activities carried out by the Working Groups.

The Steering Group also discussed the ongoing expansion of the Partnership and heard presentations by the IAEA on nuclear energy subjects relevant to the future work of GNEP to help ensure that the Partnership's efforts enhance, rather than duplicate, the work underway by the Agency.

Contributing to the success of the Steering Group's meeting, just in the last month three additional countries, Italy, Canada and the Republic of Korea, became official partners by signing the GNEP Statement of Principles, which serves as the framework for the Partnership.  GNEP's original sixteen partners include: Australia, Bulgaria, China, France, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

GNEP seeks to expand the use of clean and affordable nuclear energy for peaceful purposes worldwide in a safe and secure manner and is working towards a closed nuclear fuel cycle that will both increase energy security and further nonproliferation goals.

For additional information on GNEP and to read the Action Plan visit the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership website.

Media contact(s):

Angela Hill, (202) 586-4940

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