In the short to medium term, nuclear cooperation projects between Russia and other countries, including the United States, could focus on developing innovative new technologies for the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuels and the safe storage of radioactive waste in the long term. The creation of an international research centre in Russia would be a possible avenue for such cooperation. Several countries, including Japan and the United States, have recently attempted to implement independent programs to eliminate irradiated nuclear fuels. These attempts have shown that solving the problem at the national level would require enormous financial and intellectual resources without a guarantee of success. For example, a new reprocessing plant was built in Rokkasho, Japan, for $18 billion, but has yet to find a long-term solution. If several leading countries joined forces in this area, they could gather much greater intellectual resources and share the financial burden of such an ambitious undertaking. The President may exclude a proposed agreement from one of the above criteria if maintaining such a test “would seriously undermine the achievement of the united States NIGHT broadcast objectives or otherwise jeopardize the common defence of the United States.” The 123 exempt agreements of 123 would then be subject to a different process than non-exempt agreements, which would require a joint resolution of Congress approving the agreement to become law. There are not 123 existing agreements that have been adopted with such exceptions. A 123 agreement sets out the conditions under which the United States can enter into significant nuclear cooperation with another country. For example, U.S. companies are generally not allowed to export equipment and materials without an agreement (or bilateral agreement) in place. This agreement is, under Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954, described as an agreement of 123.
It is officially called the U.S. bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation. (Underscoring the word “peace”!) The civil nuclear cooperation agreements under Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (123 agreements) were originally conceived by President Eisenhower as a way for the United States to project influence around the world, while protecting and regulating the proliferation of nuclear weapons without adequate safeguards. This task became even more important when it felt that the Soviet Union wanted to use the export of its nuclear technology to gain influence abroad at the expense of the United States. Another promising area for cooperation is the development of innovative nuclear reactor technologies, including fast reactors, gas-cooled high-temperature reactors and low-voltage reactors. The Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group, established in July 2009 as part of the U.S.-Russian Presidential Commission, has the potential to encourage closer cooperation between the two countries. But for this to happen, Moscow and Washington must strike the right balance between the two key areas reflected on behalf of the working group. So far, nuclear security and non-proliferation have dominated the U.S.-Russian nuclear agenda and outlined cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy. For example, the 11 practical measures agreed at the third working group meeting on 6-7 December all relate to different non-proliferation projects.