Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) today issued this statement following the announcement that the U.S.-Russia Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy entered into force:
"This agreement will enable world-class scientists and engineers in both of our countries to work more closely together to tackle the common energy and environmental challenges we face. Economic cooperation between Russia and the United States is woefully underdeveloped, and this agreement has the potential to increase mutually beneficial trade and create jobs in both countries.
"As I argued with the New START Treaty, cooperation with Russia will make our nation safer and more prosperous and we must not let misunderstandings get in the way. We are right to move ahead with the transparent military nuclear relationship revived by New START. And we are right to engage in the civil nuclear energy cooperation established by today's action."
The U.S.-Russia Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, also referred to as a "123 agreement" after the relevant section of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, is required before U.S. companies and scientific institutions can receive licenses to engage Russian entities in significant trade and cooperation in nuclear material, equipment, and technology. The agreement only covers cooperation on peaceful, civilian nuclear energy; it does not permit, or even address, trade or cooperation in military nuclear technology.