France And Kuwait Ink Nuclear Power Agreement

Areva and EDF are promoting the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), a newreactor design that France considers one of the most advanced in the world

 - By April Murelio -

An agreement "to develop the peaceful use of nuclear energy" has been signed in Paris by Kuwait's Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and French government officials.

Areva and EDF are promoting the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), a third-generation reactor design that France considers the most advanced in the world.

Sarkozy vaunted the "safety and reliability" of this reactor and "France's ability to provide a service covering the whole nuclear energy cycle," according to the presidential statement.

"This agreement will permit the development of cooperation between France and Kuwait in several areas of nuclear energy" including electricity generation, a French government statement said.

Al-Sabah discussed nuclear cooperation on Friday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who hopes the new accord will "result in industrial cooperation," according to the presidency.

France hosted a gathering of 60 energy-hungry nations in Paris last month, with Sarkozy urging international bodies to finance a new era of global nuclear power.

France has the world's second largest nuclear sector and generates a greater proportion its own electricity through nuclear power than any other economy -- around 75 percent of its needs.  It has also made the export of nuclear technology an economic priority.

Last year Kuwait offered to pledge funding for an international nuclear fuel bank.  The bank would need over $150 million.  Kuwait's action cleaeds the way for a plan to be drawn up by the chief U.N. nuclear monitor, diplomats said. The International Atomic Energy Agency and industrialized nations see multilateral uranium-enrichment centers as the key to meeting rising demand for nuclear energy without developing nations building plants on their own soil.

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