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Cooperation in civil nuke-sector welcome
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08:50, September 18, 2007

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China has adopted a nuclear fuel-recycling policy for power development and is willing to strengthen cooperation in the civil nuclear sector with other countries, a senior Chinese official said in Vienna on Sunday.

But security is a precondition for nuclear energy development. As long as security and non-proliferation are assured, the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be promoted across the world in a safe, economic and reliable manner, National Development and Reform Commission Vice-Minister Chen Deming said.

Speaking at the second ministerial conference of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), Chen said China is ready to strengthen cooperation on global nuclear energy with other countries that have an open and constructive attitude. The GNEP, sponsored by the US, aims to commission proliferation-resistant nuclear reactors with assured international supply of fuel in the next few decades.

China and 15 other countries signed a document on GNEP's principles on Sunday.

The chief of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, welcomed the GNEP because it didn't seem to undermine national sovereignty on energy, a concern that has hampered several proposals for a more secure multilateral system of atomic energy supply.

"This is one of the issues that has created a lot of anxiety. So this is very much an improvement and should encourage more countries to join the partnership," IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said.

But, he said, more needs to be done to get the GNEP off the ground.

A major challenge, ElBaradei said, will be developing commercially feasible nuclear reactors with fuel-recycling and waste disposal minimizing the risk of yielding plutonium usable for atomic bombs.

"Developing the technology will be the key to GNEP's success and it can take years," said Han Xiaoping, energy expert with www.chinaenergyweb.com, an energy information and consulting firm.

The global demand for electricity is expected to almost double by 2030, with the rise being as much as 150 percent in developing countries.

Only nuclear energy can meet this demand without jeopardizing the environment further, GNEP proponents said.

Source: China Daily

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