Ministers and senior officials from 10 countries are exploring the benefits of enhanced regional co‑operation in the field of nuclear energy during a two day ministerial meeting in Bucharest, Romania. Co‑organised by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the government of Romania, the meeting was opened by the Vice Prime Minister of Romania, Viorel Ştefan, who confirmed the government's full support for enhanced regional co‑operation to meet the energy, socio‑economic and environmental goals of the future. "I am so pleased to welcome our neighbours and friends to this regional event," said Vice Prime Minister Ştefan. "This meeting is the first‑of‑its‑kind co‑organised by the government of Romania and the NEA. It is a unique opportunity for us to discuss the value of working together and utilising the NEA's experience and expertise."
"Today we begin exploring the potential benefits of a regional co‑operation, and possibilities to address shared challenges," said Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) Deputy Secretary‑General Ludger Schuknecht during his keynote address. "I am certain that with the high‑level of representation here today, of both policy makers and technical experts, this will be the start of a very beneficial partnership of countries working together for a common goal."
A session featuring ministerial statements from all participating countries included an intervention from Gerassimos Thomas, European Commission's Deputy Director‑General for Energy.
The ministerial statements provided by the following representatives highlighted the importance of regional co‑operation on nuclear energy, technology and radioactive waste management:
Participants at the meeting — senior officials, researchers, academics and industry experts from the participating countries — will discuss a wide range of nuclear energy issues during plenary sessions on the region's electricity markets, radioactive waste management, nuclear safety and regulation, public communication on nuclear energy, and nuclear innovation and education. The meeting concludes on 26 October.
"This is an important event, but it may only be a first step," noted William D. Magwood, IV, NEA Director‑General. "We are very interested in hearing the views from the participants regarding how enhanced regional co‑operation can help all countries represented today reach their energy and environment goals. I thank the government of Romania for hosting this vital meeting and facilitating today's ministerial discussion on the future of electricity supply in the region and the role nuclear energy might play now and in the decades to come."
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is an intergovernmental agency which operates within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD). It facilitates co‑operation among countries with advanced nuclear technology infrastructures to seek excellence in nuclear safety, technology, science, related environmental and economic matters and law. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co‑operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally sound and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It strives to provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear technology policies. NEA membership includes 33 countries representing 82% of the world's installed nuclear electricity generating capacity.
Romania is an active player in the nuclear energy field and a full NEA member since October 2017. Romania's membership of the NEA grants it access to the best international network of technical experts, and an opportunity to tap into the vast policy experience, dialogue and analysis that the NEA offers in areas such as nuclear technology and science, safety, radioactive waste management and stakeholder involvement.