[ RadSafe ] News: GNEP - Nuclear Energy Update

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 8 16:56:21 CDT 2007

>From another list server.

----- Original Message -----
From: fyi at aip.org <fyi at aip.org>
To: Jacobus, John (NIH/OD/ORS) [E]
Sent: Mon Oct 08 14:10:34 2007
Subject: FYI #101: GNEP - Nuclear Energy Update

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science
Policy News
Number 101: October 8, 2007
Web version: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/101.html

Interest Grows in Global Nuclear Energy Partnership

"We are engaged in a unique undertaking, one that
joins governments of the East and West, North and
South in the pursuit of a common goal: the safe
expansion of nuclear power around the world." - Energy
Secretary Samuel Bodman in Vienna, September 2007

While the House of Representatives and the Senate have
considerable differences with the Bush Administration
regarding the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership
(GNEP), international interest in GNEP is growing.  In
mid-September, a meeting was held in Vienna, Austria
where the nations participating in the Partnership
tripled in number.

House and Senate appropriators made significant
reductions in the Administration's FY 2008 $395
million GNEP request.   The current budget for
activities associated with GNEP is $168 million. 
House appropriators recommending cutting the FY 2008
budget to $120 million, less than a third of the
request.  In explaining its actions, the appropriators

"The Committee supports continued research on advanced
fuel cycles, including the development of technologies
for recycling spent nuclear fuel. However, the
Committee does not support the Department's rushed,
poorly-defined, expansive, and expensive Global
Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) proposal. There is
no compelling urgency to reach a decision point in the
summer of 2008, nor is there urgency to begin the
development of commercial-scale recycling facilities.
Further research is required before the U.S. should
commit the magnitude of funding proposed under the
GNEP initiative." 

GNEP fared better in the Senate.  Senate appropriators
recommended $243 million, almost two-thirds of the
request.  They wrote:

"While the Committee has members who support the
administration's efforts on GNEP there are also
members who have questions regarding the cost, pace,
science, technology, and nonproliferation implications
underpinning the GNEP initiative. The Committee
believes the administration must come forward with
greater scientific, technical, and policy information
that examines more alternatives in the fuel cycle and
recycling process."

FYI #95 provides additional information on the
appropriators' recommendations (see
http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/095.html .) 
GNEP was proposed by President Bush last year.  In May
of this year, Energy Secretary Bodman and
representatives from China, France, Japan, and the
Russian Federation  released a joint statement
described by DOE as "a path forward toward increasing
the use of safe, reliable and affordable nuclear power
worldwide."  The one-page statement emphasized the
nuclear fuel cycle, including recycling of spent
nuclear fuel, safeguards and security, advanced fast
reactors, and nonproliferation (see

Less than four months after the joint statement was
issued, Bodman and representatives of the other four
countries traveled to Vienna for the Second Global
Nuclear Energy Partnership Ministerial. Addressing
representatives from 38 countries and three
intergovernmental organizations, Bodman said "our task
today is to formally commit to the principles espoused
by GNEP and to begin discussions with like-minded
countries that seek to develop civilian nuclear power
in a safe and secure manner."  Bodman identified
several key issues: dealing with waste materials "in a
responsible manner," infrastructure costs, developing
technologies to increase the efficiency of the fuel
cycle, and the risks associated by the proliferation
of nuclear materials and sensitive technologies.  He
told the participants, "To put it simply, the world
needs GNEP. Renewable energy - wind, solar, geothermal
and fuels made from biomass - are part of the
solution.  But, as we have already learned in the
United States, they are not sufficient to meet the
challenge. . . .  we must face the central fact that
nuclear power is the only mature technology able today
to supply sufficiently large amounts of emissions-free
base load power to the world to meet the projected
growth in demand for electricity."

A non binding Statement of Principles was signed at
the meeting. Among the objectives of this statement
are "Develop, demonstrate, and in due course deploy
advanced fast reactors that consume transuranic
elements from recycled spent fuel" and "Develop and
demonstrate, inter alia, advanced technologies for
recycling spent nuclear fuel for deployment in
facilities that do not separate pure plutonium, with a
long term goal of ceasing separation of plutonium and
eventually eliminating stocks of separated civilian
plutonium. Such advanced fuel cycle technologies, when
available, would help substantially reduce nuclear
waste, simplify its disposition and draw down
inventories of civilian spent fuel in a safe, secure,
and proliferation-resistant manner."

The entire Statement of Principles, as well as the
sixteen signatories to this statement, can be viewed

At this meeting, officials announced the formation of
a Nuclear Fuel Services Working Group to develop, as
described by DOE, "practical measures and benefits for
comprehensive fuel services, such as fuel leasing and
other arrangements for spent fuel management."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
The American Institute of Physics
fyi at aip.org    http://www.aip.org/gov
(301) 209-3095

"If you guard your toothbrushes and diamonds with equal zeal, you'll probably lose fewer toothbrushes and more diamonds."
- Former national security advised McGeorge Bundy
-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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