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US, China Hold Joint Meeting to Discuss Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology

BEIJING – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the China National Energy Administration (NEA) this week held the 8th Joint Coordinating Committee meeting of the 1998 U.S.-China Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology (PUNT) Agreement. NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington and Director General of the NEA Nuclear Power Department Hao Weiping, co-chaired the event held April 15 and 16 in Beijing, China. Both sides shared appreciation for the progress achieved in five PUNT working groups, discussed new issue areas for potential cooperation, and agreed on the need for strengthened technical collaborations in nuclear energy technologies; safeguards and security; environment and waste management; nuclear emergency management; and radioactive source security.

“The U.S.-China PUNT framework provides a unique opportunity for our respective science communities to work together and explore options for addressing both national and international challenges,” said Harrington. “As nuclear science and applications continue to expand, international cooperation in science and technology will remain a vital part of enhancing safety, emergency response, and waste management measures at nuclear power plants; ensuring civil nuclear programs are not misused for non-peaceful purposes; and protecting nuclear operations from theft, sabotage, or unauthorized access.”

NNSA and China’s NEA, along with interagency participants from both countries, meet annually at the PUNT Joint Coordinating Committee meeting to manage and oversee bilateral technical cooperation pursued under the 1998 U.S.-China PUNT Agreement. The agreement is a formal government-to-government mechanism established to support the civilian development of nuclear energy in both countries while addressing nuclear security, safety and proliferation risks.

U.S. agencies supporting and participating in PUNT meetings include: NNSA and the Department of Energy’s Offices of Nuclear Energy and Environmental Management, as well as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Departments of State and Commerce. China’s NEA leads U.S.-China PUNT discussions for the People’s Republic of China and is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the China Atomic Energy Authority and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.