Vienna, Austria - U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and South African Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters signed a bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Research and Development of Nuclear Energy on September 14 in Vienna. This Agreement will facilitate cooperation in the areas of advanced nuclear energy systems and reactor technology. The two countries will collaborate in research and development of advanced technologies for improving the cost, safety, and proliferation-resistance of nuclear power systems. The agreement will also expand efforts to promote and maintain nuclear science and engineering infrastructure and expertise in each country.
"As the world moves to address the climate crisis and cut carbon pollution, it is clear that nuclear energy has a major role to play in our energy future," said Secretary Chu. "This agreement reflects our commitment to a new, clean energy economy and strong partnerships with nations around the world to address our shared climate and energy challenges."
One potential area of cooperation may be research and development associated with South Africa's Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) and the U.S.'s Next Generation Nuclear Plant, which are both high temperature gas-cooled reactors. The research aims to assist in the development of Generation IV technologies and to draw on the unique expertise of each country.
The signing of this Agreement followed discussions by President Obama and President Zuma during the July G-8 Summit and subsequent bilateral discussions by U.S. and South African senior officials on a broad range of nuclear energy issues in Pretoria, South Africa in August.
South Africa will be an important partner in building international consensus and momentum on our shared nuclear energy and nonproliferation agenda. The United States looks forward to working with South Africa at the Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010.