The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) have signed a Joint Declaration on Co-operation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
The agreement foresees co-operation in a number of fields, including nuclear safety, nuclear science, new reactor designs, radiological protection and radioactive waste management. It also provides for collaboration on nuclear energy technology development, economic analyses and the fuel cycle.
“The Joint Declaration will facilitate wider international co-operation on fundamentally important scientific research, the assessment of innovative technologies and the development of national and international legal frameworks, all of which will further strengthen the safety of nuclear power,” said NEA Director-General Luis Echávarri.
Mr. Echávarri added: “Both the China Atomic Energy Authority and the NEA share the objective of the safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy, and our collaboration will bring mutual benefit.”
The CAEA is responsible for developing policies on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy as well as developing programmes, planning and industrial standards. It supervises and co-ordinates China's major nuclear research and development projects and co-operates with international organisations. It represents China at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
At the OECD level, the principle of co-operation with China is already established, as China is one of the OECD's five “key partners” along with Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa.
In the area of nuclear energy, China has been involved since 2006 in two programmes for which the NEA acts as Technical Secretariat. China is a member of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), an international research and development initiative for the next generation of nuclear energy systems. China's National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) participates in the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP), an international forum of nuclear regulators which is reviewing new reactor designs. In addition, China currently participates in two joint projects under NEA auspices, one on information sharing on occupational radiological protection and the other on mitigating hydrogen risks in nuclear power plants.
Notes to editors
China is a major player in the nuclear energy field with 18 operational nuclear power reactors and a further 30 under construction. Additional units are planned in line with the country's decision to increase its reliance on nuclear energy. China's research and development efforts are also significant, and the country has over a dozen operational reactors for civil nuclear research. China has developed a 20 MWe fast breeder reactor called the CEFR (included among the 18 operational reactors cited above), and the country plans to further develop fast breeder reactor technology. Other projects of note include the construction of a demonstration Generation IV high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor using pebble bed fuel (the 200 MWe HTR-PM).
NEA membership consists of 31 countries. 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 friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.