Thursday, May 22, 2008

Podvig on US-Russia Civil Nuclear Cooperation

From a column in BAS:

Two weeks ago, the United States and Russia signed an agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation, commonly known as a "123 agreement." It was immediately attacked from all sides. Some members of Congress urged the Bush administration not to submit the document to Congress and threatened to block it once they did. Meanwhile, nuclear skeptics in Russia raised concerns that the agreement could revitalize the idea of importing foreign spent nuclear fuel into Russia or strengthen the U.S.-led Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. For their part, U.S. nuclear enthusiasts suspected Russia of attempting to gain access to advanced U.S. nuclear technologies, which, they argued, Moscow could use to establish a competitive advantage in the international nuclear trade.

There are many good reasons why such a nuclear deal should receive scrutiny and raise questions, but in this case, the opponents of the U.S.-Russian agreement are wrong. Whatever their concerns, blocking the cooperation agreement is the worst way to address them.

I'm in general agreement with this. A particular statement in the piece caught my eye:

The Russian public may be sympathetic to using the spent fuel to recover plutonium and produce electricity--a grand vision promoted by the Russian nuclear industry--but it's not ready to accept the idea of permanently burying nuclear waste somewhere in Siberia.

Go read the whole thing.

1 comment:

DV8 2XL said...

Obviously any talk of ratification will have to wait until after the U.S. election. Still I can't see it getting any traction while the 123 with India is still in limbo.