US-China coop on nu­clear en­ergy helps build trust in re­la­tions

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

Nu­clear en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the United States and China has yielded tremen­dous ben­e­fits for both coun­tries and can con­trib­ute to trust in the larger bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship, a US nu­clear en­ergy ex­pert told Xin­hua.

The United States and China could fur­ther en­hance co­op­er­a­tion on nu­clear en­ergy as there are vast com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties for both coun­tries and the world, Daniel Lip­man, vice pres­i­dent of Wash­ing­ton­based Nu­clear En­ergy In­sti­tute (NEI), said in an in­ter­view ahead of the Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit to be held in Wash­ing­ton from March 31 to April 1.

Bi­lat­eral nu­clear en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion "re­quires a strong foun­da­tion of mu­tual re­spect and trust that shared tech­nolo­gies will be used only for peace­ful pur­poses," Lip­man said, adding that it is "not some­thing the United States en­ters into lightly."

Through ex­ten­sive personto-per­son and in­sti­tu­tional con­tacts, com­mer­cial nu­clear trade can also share best prac­tices on nu­clear safety, se­cu­rity and non­pro­lif­er­a­tion, the ex­pert said.

In 2015, a new agree­ment for­mal­iz­ing civil nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the United States en­tered into force. The US nu­clear en­ergy in­dus­try, led by the NEI, played an in­stru­men­tal role in se­cur­ing con­gres­sional ap­proval for the new deal.

The agree­ment is "crit­i­cal for Amer­i­can nu­clear sup­pli­ers and US for­eign pol­icy pri­or­i­ties," said an NEI re­port be­fore the pact was ap­proved. "Nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion with China ad­vances eco­nomic in­ter­ests, safety cul­ture and cli­mate goals."

Be­sides nu­clear en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion, China and the United States also share an in­ter­est in nu­clear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion.

Ear­lier this month, the two coun­tries agreed to broaden an es­tab­lished pro­gram on com­bat­ing il­licit move­ments and smug­gling of nu­clear ma­te­ri­als.

"In the past few decades, China has made huge strides in non­pro­lif­er­a­tion and the US nu­clear en­ergy in­dus­try cer­tainly hopes that China will con­tinue this progress," Lip­man said.

"From an in­dus­try per­spec­tive, we are count­ing on China's lead­er­ship in this area," he said, adding that US laws and in­ter­na­tional norms per­mit nu­clear com­merce only on the ba­sis of suc­cess­ful co­op­er­a­tion in nu­clear se­cu­rity and non­pro­lif­er­a­tion.

China adopts a "ra­tio­nal, co­or­di­nated and bal­anced" ap­proach to nu­clear se­cu­rity. In Jan­uary, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is­sued a nu­clear white pa­per, as­sur­ing the world that China has "the most ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy and most strin­gent stan­dards" to en­sure safe and ef­fi­cient devel­op­ment of nu­clear power.

"China's de­ci­sion to de­velop nu­clear en­ergy looks wiser than ever," Lip­man said, "In cer­tain ways, China of­fers a model for other coun­tries around the world."

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