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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. to expand civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia - official

RIA Novosti

02:18 17/02/2011 WASHINGTON, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - The United States will continue to expand its civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia, including reactor development and security of radioactive materials, a top U.S. nuclear official told RIA Novosti.

Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and also head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said the two states have had "wonderful cooperation" on the issue.

"Relations with [Russian state nuclear corporation] Rosatom and whole Russian nuclear establishment have been fantastic," he said. "Nothing but great things I could say about relations with Russia. Because of we recognize the importance having and maintaining the security of materials."

The U.S. official told RIA Novosti on the sidelines of a nuclear conference that ties would continue to improve as the 123 Agreement moves forward.

The long-stalled U.S.-Russian Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, also known as the U.S.-Russia 123 Agreement, signed for 30 years, came into force on January 11. It lays legal framework for cooperation in nuclear research, production and trade, and both sides see it as contribution to non-proliferation regime.

"As you probably know our Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman met [Rosatom head] Sergey Kirienko and we continue very active relationship and dialog. That's the forum in the nuclear security space, there we work together both in reactor development and in all the security issues, and we move forward," D'Agostino said

He said the creation of bilateral commissions on different aspects of nuclear energy "has allowed a very active dialog" between Russian and U.S. officials.

The U.S. has agreements, similar to the 123 Agreement, with many other states, but the deal with Russia was long been stalled over political controversies. The agreement with Moscow was submitted to Congress by former President George W. Bush but recalled following Russia's armed conflict with Georgia in August 2008.

It was resubmitted by President Barack Obama in May 2010 in a bid to "reset" relations with Russia.

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