Russia-U.S. nuclear deal to be signed by end of 2007

Russia and the U.S. are expected to sign a nuclear deal by the end of the year according to the Deputy Head of Russia's atomic energy agency, Rosatom. The aim is to control the proliferation of weapons and to continue supplies of fuel for civilian reactor

The agreement had been expected just before Presidents Vladimir Putin and George Bush met in July, but was delayed due to technical differences. However it has not been put off indefinitely.

We expect that this document will be signed in the autumn . It will allow us to continue to develop our co-operation from a completely new standpoint,

Nikolay Spassky,  Deputy Head of Rosatom

The deal on peaceful nuclear co-operation is also known as the «123 agreement.»The name is taken from Section 123 of the United States Atomic Energy Act entitled “Co-operation with Other Nations”.

So far the U.S. has entered into roughly twenty-five such agreements with various countries. When it comes into force, the accord will streamline existing nuclear co-operation between Russia and the U.S.

The signing of «123» is also essential to the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, an initiative Russia and the U.S. have been discussing for more than a year now.

The partnership is intended to ensure nuclear fuel is reprocessed in such a way that the plutonium can only be used in civilian reactors and not for nuclear weapons, thus reducing the risk of proliferation risk.

The agreement would clearly strengthen Russia-U.S. nuclear co-operation which has recently been tested by Russia's role in the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Iranian city of Bushehr.