Moscow: The United States and Russia signed an agreement in Moscow on Tuesday for cooperation in the nuclear energy industry between the two former Cold War foes.
The agreement will allow U.S. and Russian companies to form joint ventures in the nuclear sector and gives the go-ahead for exchanges of nuclear technology between them, officials said.
Russia will also be able to reprocess spent nuclear fuel originating in the U.S. which accounts for most of the world market, in a move that has raised fears of Russia being turned into a nuclear dump.
The agreement opens “large opportunities in the area of business,” said Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom, after signing the agreement with U.S. Ambassador to Moscow William Burns. He denied that Russia would start importing nuclear waste.
“Once nuclear rivals, today nuclear partners, the U.S. and Russia now have a framework to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purpose and to advance nuclear energy worldwide,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement.
U.S. President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin inked the agreement at a summit in Kennebunkport in the U.S. last year and discussed it again in the Russian resort of Sochi last month.
Deal to benefit both countries, bridge old gaps
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the deal will benefit both countries. “It will benefit U.S. industry by allowing U.S. and Russian companies to partner in nuclear joint ventures, and by permitting commercial sales of nuclear materials, reactors, and major reactor components by U.S. industry to Russia,” he said in a statement.
It “also will strengthen U.S-Russian non-proliferation cooperation under bilateral programmes and initiatives in civil nuclear energy,” he added.
This, he said, includes Declaration on Nuclear Energy and Nonproliferation and Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. Bush was expected to send the agreement to Congress soon, he added.