The International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) formerly the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) began as a U.S. proposal, announced by United States Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman on February 6, 2006, to form an international partnership to promote the use of nuclear power and close the nuclear fuel cycle in a way that reduces nuclear waste and the risk of nuclear proliferation. This proposal would divide the world into “fuel supplier nations,” which supply enriched uranium fuel and take back spent fuel, and “user nations,” which operate nuclear power plants.
As GNEP the proposal proved controversial in the United States and internationally. The U.S. Congress provided far less funding for GNEP than President George W. Bush requested. U.S. arms control organizations criticized the proposal to resume reprocessing as costly and increasing proliferation risks. Some countries and analysts criticized the GNEP proposal for discriminating between countries as nuclear fuel cycle “haves” and “have-nots.” In April 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy announced the cancellation of the U.S. domestic component of GNEP.
In 2010, the GNEP was renamed the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation. IFNEC is now an international partnership with 25 partner countries, 28 observer and candidate partner countries, and three international organization observers. The international organization observers are: the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Generation IV International Forum, and the European Commission. IFNEC operates by consensus among its partners based on an agreed GNEP Statement of Mission.
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