(Aiken, South Carolina) – On May 10-11, 2016 the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the China National Energy Administration (NEA) held the 11th annual Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) meeting of the 1998 U.S.-China Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology (PUNT) Agreement at the Savannah River National Laboratory.
The PUNT JCC is an annual meeting for the United States and China to manage and oversee bilateral technical cooperation carried out under the PUNT Agreement, a government-to-government mechanism established to support the civilian development of nuclear energy in both countries while addressing nuclear security, safety, nonproliferation, and environmental risks.
This year’s PUNT JCC was co-chaired by NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington, and NEA Director General of the Electric Power Department Liu Baohua. The delegations reviewed progress made under each of the six PUNT Working Groups, explored common interests, and identified next steps to expand and strengthen bilateral technical cooperation. The Working Groups are: (1) Nuclear Energy Technology; (2) Safeguards and Security; (3) Environment and Waste Management; (4) Nuclear Emergency Management; (5) Radioactive Source Security; and (6) Public and Stakeholder Outreach.
“The U.S.-China PUNT Joint Coordinating Committee allows us to review the broad range of cooperative activities between the United States and China and reaffirms our mutual commitment to implementing the energy and nuclear security agendas of our Presidents,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator Harrington. “Civil nuclear energy has an essential role to play in global climate change efforts and in meeting increasing power generation demands, but, as our leaders reiterated at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, national programs need to be implemented in accordance with internationally recognized safety and security standards.”
“China has the fastest growing civil nuclear energy program in the world and the United States operates the most advanced, safe, and reliable fleet of nuclear power plants in the world,” said Baohua. “It is vitally important for our two countries to develop a closer cooperative partnership to enhance peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”
The meeting included interagency participants from both countries. In addition to NNSA, DOE’s Offices of Nuclear Energy and Environmental Management also participated, along with Argonne, Oak Ridge, Sandia, Las Alamos, and Savannah River National Laboratories. U.S. interagency participants include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Departments of State and Commerce. 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.
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, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce the 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. Visit nnsa.energy.gov for more information.