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US, Mexico to work on nuclear power agreement

The U.S. and Mexico announced plans to initiate negotiationson a new nuclear power cooperation agreement as both countries strive to findways to protect the environment and promote clean energy.

The countries pledged to launch formal negotiations on abilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation, with the aim of wrappingup the agreement later this year, the White House said in a .

According to the statement, the agreement would strengthenthe countries' existing legal framework; provide a stronger foundation for thesharing technology, fuel and other major nuclear components; and bolsterpotential emissions reductions in the power sector. It said the agreement wouldalso allow the two countries to share best practices and enhance nationalcapacities in the supply chain and nuclear fuel services.

U.S. President Barack Obama said at a joint press conferenceat the White House with Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto that theagreement only deepens the "robust partnership" between the U.S. andMexico on energy and environmental issues.

"Both of our nations are committed to ensuring thehistoric Paris agreement is fully implemented," Obama said. He stressedthat the two nations will also continue to work toward the North American cleanenergy goals announced in Ottawa at the North American Leader's Summit.

The U.S., Canada and Mexico at the June summit to raise theregion's share of clean electricity generation to 50% by 2025, a goal thecountries said is achievable and will support their obligations under the Parisclimate agreement.

Clean energy can includenuclear generation, renewable output from hydropower, wind and solarfacilities, coal-fired plants with carbon capture, and improved energyefficiency. The agreement includes a pledge from Mexico to lower methaneemissions from the oil and gas sector by 40% to 45% by 2025, in line with priorcommitments from the U.S. and Canada.

"With that goal in mind, we're pursuing an agreementthis year on sharing civilian nuclear technology," Obama said. He addedthat the new U.S.-Mexico Energy Business Council will meet for the very firsttime this fall to strengthen the ties between our energy industries. The councilwas created with the objectives of strengthening economic and commercial energyindustry ties between the two countries as well as communicating "actionable,non-binding" recommendations to both governments.