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:
- Anton Anton, Minister of Energy, Romania;
- Todor Ivanov Churov, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Romania, Bulgaria;
- Tomasz Dąbrowski, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Energy, Poland;
- Attila Aszódi, State Secretary for the Maintenance of the Performance of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, Hungary;
- Domagoj Validžić, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Environment and Energy, Croatia;
- Milan Peprník, Counsellor, Embassy of the Czech Republic in Bucharest, Czech Republic;
- Karol Mistrík, Ambassador, Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Bucharest, Slovak Republic;
- Sandi Viršek, Director, Agency for Radwaste Management (ARAO), Slovenia;
- Branko Branković, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Bucharest, Serbia;
- Simion Botnari, First Secretary on Economic and Commercial Issues, Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in Romania, Moldova.
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."