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U.S. and Chile signed memo on nuclear energy, but President Piñera denied plans of building nuclear plant.

Obama and Piñera agreed on nuclear energy.

In spite of the japanese nuclear crisis, and the fact that nuclear energy is less popular than ever in Chile, the U.S. President and the President of Chile signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the cooperation on the peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy.

However, the chilean President Piñera said that “Chile will not build any nuclear power plants and planning during my government, ” the president said today during a press conference with his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama.

With the announcement, Piñera sought precisely to allay fears generated by a scientific cooperation agreement with the United States in the nuclear field.

Here is the Fact Sheet send to the media by the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs on March 21, 2011.

The United States and Chile cooperate on a range of issues related to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Chile and the United States have agreed to an MOU on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Under the MOU, the two governments will cooperate on human resource and infrastructure development, nuclear safety, security, safeguards, fuel design, and applications in industry, health, agriculture, and water. (Link to MOU)
  • Project and Supply Agreement (PSA): On March 10, 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors approved a PSA that allows the United States, in partnership with the IAEA, to supply low enriched uranium to Chile to support the continued operation of the RECH-1 and RECH-2 research reactors for scientific research and medical isotope production.
  • Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) Regional Meeting: Chile has agreed to host an NSS regional meeting in May 2011 and will invite all countries in Latin America. The meeting will provide a venue for Latin American countries to discuss nuclear security topics specific to the region as well as the NSS Workplan, NSS Communiqué, and plans for the next NSS in 2012.
  • Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Removal: Under the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration worked with Chilean authorities to remove all HEU from Chile before the April 2010 NSS. The shipment took place successfully despite a magnitude 8.8 earthquake that had occurred just days earlier in February 2010. This was one of many efforts showcased during the Summit, which President Piñera and other senior officials attended.