US energy secretary Spencer Abraham and chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority Zhang Hua-zhu have signed a Statement of Intent on the exchange of nuclear technology.
Abraham said this commitment to recent understandings between the two countries "open the way for greater participation by the US nuclear industry in China's growing nuclear power programme." The understandings establish a process for determining what nuclear technologies require government-to-government non-proliferation assurances and set forth procedures for exchanging the assurances. The understandings enable US firms to use their authorisations under Department of Energy regulations 10 CFR Part 810 to provide technology and services to the Chinese nuclear power programme. Until now, lack of non-proliferation assurances from the Chinese government to the US government prevented some firms from using their authorisations.
The understandings state that when nuclear technology proposed for transfer is determined to require non-proliferation assurances, the government of the recipient country will pledge that the technology will be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and will not be retransferred to another country without the prior consent of the government of the supplier country.