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07 March 2003

Text: Energy's Abraham Discusses Future Fuels, Nuclear Safety with EC

(Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham in Brussels March 6) (750)

U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and officials of the European
Commission met in Brussels March 6 to discuss continued U.S.-EC
cooperation in the research and development of clean energy systems
and alternative fuels.


"Whether it is fusion, a hydrogen economy, or ideas that we have not
yet explored, I believe we need to leapfrog the status quo and prepare
for a future that under any scenario requires a revolution in how we
produce, deliver and use energy," Abraham said.

While in Brussels, the U.S. Energy Secretary also signed an agreement
with the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) concerning nuclear
energy safety and radioactive waste disposal.

Following is an Energy Department press release about his visit:

(begin text)

Department of Energy 
Washington, D.C. 
www.energy.gov
March 6, 2003

Press Release

SECRETARY ABRAHAM SIGNS AGREEMENTS PROMOTING NUCLEAR ENERGY SAFETY AND
PRESIDENT BUSH'S HYDROGEN FUTURE INITIATIVE

Will Also Hold Talks on FreedomCAR, National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap
and Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM -- Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham today met
with the senior leadership of the European Commission's (EC)
Directorates General for Research and Energy to discuss the continuing
cooperation between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the EC in
the areas of clean energy, alternative fuels, and other areas of
ongoing collaboration. In separate meetings, he also signed agreements
with members of the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) to
promote and extend cooperative research in the field of
nuclear-related technology research and development.

The purpose of the DOE/EURATOM Agreement is to establish a framework
for cooperation in the area of nuclear-related technology research and
development.

Possible areas of cooperation include nuclear energy research, plant
life extension and management, advanced new fuels for transportation
and energy, and high-level waste management. This agreement will set
the U.S. and the EC on a joint path to solve complex issues of nuclear
energy safety. Working together to resolve these problems will help
provide for a viable nuclear energy option to meet the rising future
energy needs of both the U.S. and the member states of the EC.

"Our shared interests make us partners in the effort to devise
innovative ways to improve the energy security in our respective
countries," Secretary Abraham said. "The U.S. and the European
Commission face common challenges, including growing energy and oil
import dependence, and massive new energy infrastructure requirements.
Our discussions will help lead to innovations across the board in
energy matters."

The Secretary's exchanges with EC members will highlight President
Bush's Hydrogen Future Initiative, including President Bush's
FreedomCAR and Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, the National Hydrogen Energy
Roadmap and the DOE's Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum.

The FreedomCAR and Hydrogen Fuel Initiative are designed to reverse
America's growing dependence on foreign oil by developing the
technology needed for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells
-- a way to power cars, trucks, homes and businesses that produces no
pollution and no greenhouse gases.

The National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap identifies the challenges and
paths forward to a future energy system that is centered on the use of
hydrogen. The new roadmap -- the result of a 12-month collaborative
process -- outlines the research, development, demonstration, codes
and standards, and education efforts necessary to lead the nation to a
clean and sustainable energy future based on hydrogen.

"Whether it is fusion, a hydrogen economy, or ideas that we have not
yet explored, I believe we need to leapfrog the status quo and prepare
for a future that under any scenario requires a revolution in how we
produce, deliver and use energy," Secretary Abraham said.

The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, a Ministerial-level
organization, is an international climate change initiative that will
focus on development of carbon capture and storage technologies to
stabilize long-term greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. It will
seek to improve such technologies through coordinated research and
development with international partners and private industry.

The Secretary will also sign an agreement between DOE and EURATOM that
will update, strengthen, and expand a prior understanding that
involves nuclear energy safety and radioactive waste disposal. The
goal of the discussions is to decide areas of interest for further
cooperative research and to develop a set of continent-wide standards
and rules regarding radioactive waste disposal.

Media Contact:
Jeanne Lopatto 202/586-4940
Drew Malcomb, 202/586-5806
Release No. PR-03-046
Release Date: March 6, 2003

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)