Today a growing number of states are considering to civil nuclear power to meet their energy needs, in a context of spiralling fossil fuel prices and the drive to combat climate change.
France’s position is that the peaceful use of nuclear power should not be confined to a handful of states that already hold the technology. At the same time, though, it is essential - both for the countries under consideration and for the international community as a whole - that any country undertaking a civil nuclear programme is not only willing but also capable of meeting essential requirements regarding safety, security, non-proliferation and protection of the environment for future generations. Similarly, the countries in question are confronted with the challenges of finding financing, obtaining access to the technology and the latest research, and training people to satisfactorily conduct their projects. This is why France has expressed its willingness to assist any country wishing to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes which fully abide by their non proliferation obligations.
The International Conference on Access to Civil Nuclear Energy, to be held in Paris on 8 and 9 March 2010, addresses this goal, namely to promote the peaceful and responsible use of nuclear power. It aims to enable debate on every aspect of developing a nuclear programme and on ways of using bilateral and multilateral cooperation to help countries wishing to embark on such a course to fulfil their international obligations. It will provide for a discussion forum for all of the stakeholders: government policy-makers, executives from the international organisations involved in drawing up and monitoring compliance with the regulatory framework, the managers of industrial companies in the sector and of financial establishments, the heads of research and training bodies, and qualified public figures involved in the debate.
The conference programme includes several types of sessions : Opening and closing sessions comprising in-depth speeches by top-level leaders (the president of the French Republic, the french Prime minister, the president of the European Commission, the director general of the IAEA, the secretary-general of the OECD, etc.) and Six roundtables.
This conference is expected to achieve progress, in particular by involving policy-makers in this particular issue and providing an insight into the needs of new nuclear countries. It will contribute to the much-needed dialogue between the states that supply and the states that receive nuclear goods and technologies. Through the guidelines it produces, and through any commitment that may be made for a responsible development of nuclear energy, it will fuel the deliberations conducted in other organisations and other venues.
The Conference is organised in coordination with the IAEA and with the support of the OECD/NEA. It will take place at the OECD Conference Center.
"In 2008-2009 we signed eight new framework cooperation agreements for the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Given that in order to thrive, the nuclear industry must develop against a background of confidence, these agreements are based on the principle of a broad, responsible and transparent partnership. "