On May 13, 2008, the President submitted to Congress a proposed Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (henceforth referred to as the U.S.-Russia 123 agreement) in accordance with the review requirements established under Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (AEA), as amended. The United States has agreements for peaceful nuclear cooperation governing nuclear exports to nearly 50 countries, Taiwan, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Such agreements provide the framework and authorization for civilian nuclear cooperation, but do not guarantee that cooperation will take place or that nuclear material or technology transfers will occur. The proposed agreement with Russia would, among other things, establish the legal basis for the Department of Energy (DOE) to work with Russia on large-scale development of nuclear energy. However, owing to Russia's status as a nuclear weapons state, the size of its nuclear complex, and past proliferation concerns, including weaknesses in the Russian export control system, an agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the United States and Russia raised a number of concerns among Members of Congress. Section 123 of the AEA (Section 123) identifies the key U.S. government agencies and sets forth the procedures for negotiating, proposing, and entering into peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements with foreign nations. Consistent with Section 123, the Department of State (State) is responsible for negotiating any proposed agreement, with the technical assistance and concurrence of DOE. After consultation with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), State and DOE jointly submit the proposed agreement to the President, accompanied by the views and recommendations of State, DOE, and NRC. Section 123 also provides that State supply the President with an unclassified Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement (NPAS) for each proposed agreement, accompanied by a classified annex, prepared in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence that summarizes relevant classified information. The NPAS serves as an analysis of the proposed agreement to ensure compliance with provisions of the AEA as well as the adequacy of safeguards and other control mechanisms to ensure assistance furnished under the agreement is not used to further any military or nuclear explosive purpose.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||1. The Secretary of State should, working with the Secretary of Energy, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Director of National Intelligence, as appropriate, clarify how interagency participants will implement their statutorily assigned roles and responsibilities in the review process for 123 agreements and associated documents, such as the NPAS and classified annex that accompany 123 agreements.|
|Department of State||2. The Secretary of State should, working with the Secretary of Energy, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Director of National Intelligence, as appropriate, establish written procedures to carry out the process used to develop, review, and transmit 123 agreements and associated documents. Such procedures should afford relevant members of the intelligence community an opportunity to review the final classified NPAS annex prior to any agreement's submission to Congress.|
|Department of State||3. The Secretary of State should, working with the Secretary of Energy, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Director of National Intelligence, as appropriate, ensure adequate time for consultation with NRC and provide for the commission to be given the final versions of all necessary documents prior to any vote on approval for, and submission of its views and recommendations on, a 123 agreement.|