International agreement on nuclear research signed by Canada, France, Japan, UK and US

March 1, 2005

London, 28 February 2005

A 'Framework Agreement on International Collaboration in Research and Development on Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems' was signed today by the UK, Canada, France, Japan, and United States. HM Ambassador, Sir David Manning, signed the Agreement on behalf of the UK at a ceremony held at the French Embassy in Washington.

The new Agreement will facilitate the start of an international collaborative effort to research innovative advanced nuclear reactor systems that will offer a carbon free international energy option for the future.

The UK's participation is in line with Government policy on keeping the nuclear option open over the longer term, as set out in the Energy White Paper, February 2003. It will support UK skills needed to keep open the option over the longer term and our capability to keep abreast of international developments and inform UK policy development.

Notes for editors

1. The UK joined the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) when it was first established by the US in January 2000 and signed the GIF Charter in July 2001. The UK was invited to take part in recognition of its respected nuclear expertise and UK membership has always been on the understanding that it should not be taken to imply a specific nuclear proportion of UK electricity generation.

2. GIF's active membership includes Canada, Euratom, France, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Switzerland, UK and US.

3. The initiative aims to develop the most promising advanced nuclear energy systems for deployment from around 2030 to help meet growing international demands for carbon free energy. Six systems have been selected by GIF with the help of leading international experts because of their significant potential to advance the sustainability, safety, economics and proliferation resistance of future nuclear systems. The concepts include a sodium liquid metal-cooled fast reactor, very high temperature reactor, supercritical water-cooled reactor, lead-alloy-cooled reactor, gas cooled fast reactor, and molten salt reactor.

4. The new Agreement will complement Research Council spending on keeping the nuclear option open as part of the "Sustainable Energy Economy" initiative and expenditure on skills. In addition it offers the UK access to technologies and capabilities that will bring benefits to UK industry and support other aspects of the UK nuclear agenda including legacy waste management.

linkname:Department of Trade and Industry
News release No. P/2005/070
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