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US, Italy Sign Cooperation Agreement on Clean Coal and Carbon Capturing Technology

A day ahead of the opening of the G-8 summit of energy ministers in Rome, the United States and Italy signed a cooperation agreement on clean coal and carbon capture technology.

The accord on clean coal and carbon capture technology was the first signed by the United States with a foreign nation. U-S Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the problem of carbon capture has still not been resolved.

His Italian counterpart, Italy's Minister for Economic Development Claudio Scajola said the aim of the accord is to exchange know-how, coordinate joint projects, develop new technologies and identify sites to store carbon dioxide.

The bilateral energy meeting between the United States and Italy came one day ahead of the opening of the G-8 summit of energy ministers in Rome.

The Italian minister Claudio Scajola said this is the major energy event that is taking place in 2009, which accounts for 80 percent of all energy consumption and production in our world.

The theme of the meeting is: Beyond the crisis: towards a new world energy leadership.

Scajola says Italy is now developing a new energy policy and its goal is to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, to increase the production of renewables and to restart nuclear energy.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the United States generates 20 percent of its electricity with nuclear energy but the last nuclear power plant that was started was in the late 1970s and so there has been a long dry period where the United States has not begun to manufacture new plants. "We intend to begin to restart that industry to develop safer reactors, more economical reactors and again we are looking very much forward to working with Italy and other countries in restarting this industry," he said.

The two-day meeting will be attended by the G8 member countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. A total of 23 nations are taking part including emerging economies such as Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Also attending are 8 international organizations and 20 of the world's largest energy companies.