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GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Supports U.S.-Italy Nuclear Relationship

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today announced support for a nuclear cooperation agreement between Italy and the United States, signed Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The bilateral agreement enables growth in Italy’s power-generation capacity and diversification of its energy portfolio by fostering cooperation in the research, development and deployment of advanced reactor technologies.

Recognizing the necessity of safe and reliable energy for its citizens, Italy has enacted a new law to re-enable growth in its nuclear industry. Tuesday’s bilateral cooperation agreement, signed by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Italian Economic Development Minister Claudio Scajola, reinforces both governments’ commitment to growing independent, reliable and diversified energy economies that include safe and affordable nuclear energy.

For the first time in more than two decades, U.S. companies have the opportunity to assist Italy in renewing the country’s nuclear infrastructure. As European governments strive to meet national and international emissions-reduction targets, GEH is uniquely prepared to pursue development opportunities in Italy.

“We are excited about the prospect of supporting the development of a domestic nuclear energy program in Italy,” said Jack Fuller, GEH’s President and CEO. “With more than 50 years of experience in delivering nuclear technology and services for electricity generation, GEH can provide a compelling alternative for Italy to realize the objectives of its nuclear energy program.”

Around the world, 441 nuclear reactors operate in 31 countries, accounting for 17 percent of worldwide electricity production. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, global energy demand is expected to increase 44 percent by 2030, and nuclear energy is a safe, affordable, and nearly carbon-free solution to this sustainability challenge.

GE recognizes the necessity of nuclear power in meeting the world’s energy sustainability challenges. “Nuclear energy is a low-CO2 solution that must be part of the energy equation,” said John Krenicki, President and CEO of GE Energy, at last week’s Council on Competitiveness National Energy Summit in Washington, D.C. “Government involvement is critical in deploying new nuclear technologies.”

GE participated in the launch of Italy’s first domestic nuclear energy program on behalf of Enel, which included an 860-MWe, second-generation boiling water reactor (BWR) at Caorso. That reactor unit began operation in 1978.

Today, GEH is the world’s leading designer of advanced boiling water reactor technology, and GEH offers an extensive portfolio of reactor equipment and nuclear plant services to energy companies globally.

“As Italy looks to re-start its civilian nuclear energy program,” Fuller said, “GEH’s proven global supply chain and decades of uninterrupted nuclear plant construction experience can play a pivotal role. We can help ensure that Italy’s energy companies have the project resources they need to bring cost-effective, safe and reliable energy to families and business customers across Italy.”

According to the World Nuclear Association, about 10 percent of Italy’s electricity currently is generated by nuclear power— in other countries. The Italian government has announced plans to build new nuclear energy plants within the decade and projects that 25 percent of the country’s electricity could be supplied by nuclear energy by 2030. Today, electricity prices in Italy are up to 45 percent higher than the European Union average.

Source : Communiqué GE

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