The US secretary of energy, Samuel Bodman, has called for increased international cooperation in safely increasing the use of nuclear energy.

The call came during a speech Secretary Bodman delivered to the 50th Annual International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) general conference in Vienna, Austria.

To guide international efforts to expand nuclear power, Secretary Bodman highlighted the global vision of President Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which seeks to work with international partners to promote the use of advanced nuclear energy systems in order to provide a reliable fuel source on an economically competitive basis worldwide.

Through GNEP, nations will develop enhanced nuclear safeguards in cooperation with the IAEA as an integral part of the development of advanced nuclear facilities. Secretary Bodman cited the need for mutually beneficial partnerships with nations to ensure that appropriate investments are made to demonstrate technologies that recycle nuclear fuel, reduce waste, and provide developing nations reliable access to clean nuclear energy for electricity.

Secretary Bodman also stressed the need for all nations to redouble efforts to secure radioactive and radiological material and further expand cooperative work in nuclear nonproliferation. He encouraged compliance with international safeguards, the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and Facilities, and related requirements for nuclear safety and security. This included a discussion of the US and Russia’s Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which aims to secure nuclear materials.

As an international community, we must work together to globally expand clean, reliable, and affordable nuclear energy in ways that reduce proliferation risks, increase global energy security, and limit pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, Secretary Bodman commented. The decisions we make today in terms of both reliable energy supply and nuclear nonproliferation will have an affect for generations to come.