France and USA to fund research into advanced reactors

France and the United States have signed a bilateral agreement to jointly fund US-French research in advanced reactors and fuel cycle development.

US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Chairman Pascal Colombani of the Commissariat a L’Energie Atomique (CEA) of France yesterday signed a bilateral agreement to jointly fund innovative US-French research in advanced reactors and fuel cycle development.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and CEA are expected to award merit-selected research grants later this summer to joint U.S.-French research teams.

The joint research projects will support the recommendation in the Bush Administration’s National Energy Policy to pursue research that will develop next generation nuclear reactor technologies.

‘This agreement demonstrates the strong commitment of France and the US to dedicate our expertise and resources to the joint development of nuclear systems that are safe, economical and proliferation-resistant,’ said Secretary Abraham. ‘It is our hope that this research will accelerate deployment of Generation IV nuclear energy systems by 2030 or earlier.’

The agreement is part of the US Department of Energy’s International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (I-NERI) launched this year by the department’s Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology.

I-NERI will foster international collaborative research and development of nuclear technology, focusing on the development of Generation IV advanced nuclear system technologies.

According to a statement the joint research awarded through this agreement will enable the US and France to move forward with leading-edge generic research that can benefit the range of reactor and fuel cycle designs anticipated in the future.

With France, the US Energy Department is currently developing a Generation IV Technology Roadmap that, when complete next year, will serve as the research and development plan for advanced reactor and fuel cycle system development.

Other countries participating in the roadmap are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Africa, South Korea and the United Kingdom.