Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bush Sends U.S.-Russia Civilian Nuclear Energy Pact to Congress

President George W. Bush has sent the agreement called Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy to Congress for approval. Here is a description of the pact from President Bush's letter to Congress:

The proposed Agreement provides a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation with Russia based on a mutual commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. It has a term of 30 years, and permits the transfer of technology, material, equipment (including reactors), and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production. It does not permit transfers of Restricted Data, and permits transfers of sensitive nuclear technology, sensitive nuclear facilities, and major critical components of such facilities by amendment to the Agreement. In the event of termination, key non-proliferation conditions and controls continue with respect to material and equipment subject to the Agreement.

Congress has been quite dubious about this pact, particularly because of Russian aid to Iran's nuclear efforts. The best hope for the pact is for Congress to do nothing; if no action is taken in 60 days, then the pact takes force. But the House has already passed a measure that essentially forbids this pact and the Senate has a similar bill with 70 or so co-sponsors ready to go. Congress appears ready to weigh-in, and a perceived toughness toward Iran will play well to voters. Much more to come, no doubt.

We've written about this pact recently. Take a look there for more details and links.

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