18 September 2009 – South African Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters, and the US Department of Energy signed a bilateral agreement on co-operation in R&D of nuclear energy. The agreement will facilitate co-operation in the areas of advanced nuclear energy systems and reactor technology.
The two countries will collaborate in R&D of advanced technologies for improving the cost, safety, and proliferation-resistance of nuclear power systems. The agreement will also expand efforts to promote and maintain nuclear science and engineering infrastructure and expertise in each country.
According to the US Department of Energy, one potential area of co-operation may be R&D associated with South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor and the US’s Next Generation Nuclear Plant, which are both high temperature gas-cooled reactors.
Steven Chu, the US Secretary of Energy, said: "As the world moves to address the climate crisis and cut carbon pollution, it is clear that nuclear energy has a major role to play in our energy future. This agreement reflects our commitment to a new, clean energy economy and strong partnerships with nations around the world to address our shared climate and energy challenges."