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US-UK declaration includes nuclear partnership

The Atlantic Declaration for a US-UK Economic Partnership, announced by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden, says the two nations aim to build resilient, diversified, secure supply chains and reduce strategic dependencies – and includes a new high-level US-UK civil nuclear partnership.

“Today we have agreed the Atlantic Declaration, a new economic partnership for a new age, of a kind that has never been agreed before,” Sunak said.

The declaration and its accompanying action plan are described as a “new type of innovative partnership” across the full spectrum of economic, technological, commercial and trade relations. As well as a new economic security framework, it will support UK and US efforts to “harness the energy transition and technological breakthroughs to drive broadly shared growth, create good jobs, and leave no community behind”, the declaration states.

The civil nuclear partnership included in the Atlantic Declaration will be overseen by senior officials in both governments. Near-term priorities for joint action will be set by the US-UK Joint Action Group on Energy Security and Affordability (the JAG), “to encourage the establishment of new infrastructure and end-to-end fuel cycle capabilities by 2030 in both continents, and substantially minimise reliance on Russian fuel, supplies, and services”.

Joint US-UK activity “will support and facilitate the safe, secure, and sustainable international deployment of advanced, peaceful nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors, in accordance with the highest non-proliferation standards and consistent with a 1.5 degree Celsius limit on global warming”.

A Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation will deliver on shared commitments by the end of the year and serve as an “enduring bilateral forum to advance shared policy goals across existing engagement mechanisms,” including near-term actions identified through the JAG. It will also facilitate exchanges on new and evolving technical and policy developments regarding nuclear energy, the declaration says.

As well as the civil nuclear partnership, the Atlantic Declaration includes a one-year Joint Clean Energy Supply Chain Action Plan under which JAG is tasked, by the end of this year, to identify and decide on near-term actions to accelerate the buildout of capacity to meet clean energy demands. This will include public-private consultations across key clean energy supply chains, including offshore wind and electric vehicle batteries, and “rapid stress-test exercises across key clean energy supply chains, which could form a model for future work on supply chain resilience”.

It also includes action for economic partnerships, cooperation on critical and emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, and strengthened alliances in the areas of defence, biological and health security, and space, with the two nations’ committed to “deepen” their partnership across all sectors of space cooperation, including studying opportunities for cooperation on space nuclear power and propulsion.

Source: World Nuclear News