A US government-led plan to design small nuclear reactors for deployment in developing countries is continuing despite ongoing fears about security and proliferation risks.
The Bush administration has ear-marked $20 million in its 2009 budget toward the US Department of Energy's efforts to design nuclear power plants in the 250-to-500 megawatt range as part of its Global Nuclear Energy Program (GNEP).
The money marks the first substantial commitment to building the new plants since President Bush announced the program in February 2006. The latest nuclear plants designed for US domestic use have capacities about 1300 megawatts.
GNEP, which now includes 21 member countries, hopes to begin construction of its first reactor in a country currently without nuclear power in 2015, saying the plants will provide a clean, safe source of electricity.