US and Italy sign nuclear cooperation agreement

2 October 2009

The USA and Italy have signed nuclear cooperation agreements that could lead to construction of new nuclear power plants and improve cooperation on advanced fuel cycle R&D.

The agreements were signed on 30 September by US secretary of energy Steven Chu and Italian minister for economic development Claudio Scajola.

The first agreement – The US-Italy Joint Declaration Concerning Industrial and Commercial Cooperation in the Nuclear Energy Sector – affirms the strong interest of the United States and Italy to encourage their respective nuclear industries to seek opportunities for the construction of new nuclear power plants.

“The agreements reached today reflect our vision for strong partnerships with nations around the world to help address our shared climate and energy challenges,” said Chu. “Nuclear power will play a key role in the production of low-carbon energy in the years and decades to come, and we look forward to working with Italy and the US private sector to advance these important technologies.”

The second bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Civilian Nuclear Energy Research and Development will facilitate cooperation between the US Department of Energy and Italy’s Ministry for Economic Development in the areas of advanced nuclear energy systems and associated fuel cycle technologies. Both parties 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.

A number of US nuclear firms have already expressed their support for the agreement including, Westinghouse and GEH.

We at Westinghouse look forward to this emerging opportunity," said Westinghouse president and chief executive officer Aris Candris.

"Italy clearly wants and deserves access to the world's best technology as it works to make clean, safe and reliable nuclear energy a larger part of its energy mix. It is also important to point out that Westinghouse has a history of cooperation with Italy's existing nuclear infrastructure. For example, over the last two decades, significant development efforts for our AP1000 nuclear power plant were conducted in Italy by Ansaldo Nucleare."

GEH’s president and CEO Jack Fuller commented: “We are excited about the prospect of supporting the development of a domestic nuclear energy program in Italy.”

GE participated in the launch of Italy’s first domestic nuclear energy programme on behalf of Enel, which included an 860MWe, second-generation boiling water reactor (BWR) at Caorso that began operation in 1978.

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