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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 1997

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
Amber Jones, 202/586-5806

UNITED STATES AND CHINA AGREE TO BROADEN COOPERATION ON NUCLEAR ENERGY AND NONPROLIFERATION

The United States and China today announced an initiative that will move the countries toward broader cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The agreement will further the Clinton administration's commitment to engaging China in activities that promote the safe, reliable, peaceful use of nuclear technology and reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation.

Secretary of Energy Federico Peña and Minister Zeng Peiyan, Vice Chairman of China's State Planning Commission, signed the Agreement of Intent Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology during the U.S.-China Summit between Presidents Bill Clinton and Jiang Zemin. The agreement is the first step toward joint initiatives in reactor technology and safety; advanced in-service inspection of nuclear power plant components; fuel handling and storage; the production of isotopes for medical, industrial and agricultural uses; and decontamination and decommissioning. Cooperation in these areas will benefit both countries as they seek to address energy needs for the next century. China's nuclear power sector is projected to grow faster than that of any other country.

The agreement also calls for cooperation in establishing systems for export control of nuclear materials, equipment and technologies; nuclear materials control and accounting; physical protection; and enhancement of international nuclear safeguards. Initiatives in these areas will build on the progress the United States and China have made already in nuclear nonproliferation, which now permits enhanced cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

"The progress we have made together in nuclear nonproliferation has permitted us to move forward with joint efforts to meet future energy goals with nuclear technology," said Secretary Peña. "As part of that broader relationship, we will continue to direct substantial efforts toward greater safeguards for nuclear materials and stronger unilateral, bilateral and multilateral nonproliferation efforts."

The nuclear agreement became possible following President Clinton's decision to certify to the U.S. Congress that China had met the necessary requirements to implement the 1985 Agreement for Cooperation between the United States and China Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. The Presidential certifications must be transmitted to Congress and remain there for 30 days before the 1985 Agreement can be implemented.

The Agreement of Intent between the United States and China paves the way for the negotiation of a broad "umbrella" agreement that will govern future cooperative activities related to nuclear energy and nonproliferation.

- DOE -

R-97-119