Skip to comments.U.S., Russia To Enter Civilian Nuclear Pact
Posted on 07/08/2006 4:17:27 AM PDT by jmc1969
President Bush has decided to permit extensive U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia for the first time, administration officials said yesterday, reversing decades of bipartisan policy in a move that would be worth billions of dollars to Moscow but could provoke an uproar in Congress.
Bush resisted such a move for years, insisting that Russia first stop building a nuclear power station for Iran near the Persian Gulf. But U.S. officials have shifted their view of Russia's collaboration with Iran and concluded that President Vladimir Putin has become a more constructive partner in trying to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations for nuclear weapons.
The president plans to announce his decision at a meeting with Putin in St. Petersburg next Saturday before the annual summit of leaders from the Group of Eight major industrialized nations, officials said. The statement to be released by the two presidents would agree to start negotiations for the formal agreement required under U.S. law before the United States can engage in civilian nuclear cooperation.
In the administration's view, both sides would benefit. A nuclear cooperation agreement would clear the way for Russia to import and store thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel from U.S.-supplied reactors around the world, a lucrative business so far blocked by Washington. It could be used as an incentive to win more Russian cooperation on Iran. And it would be critical to Bush's plan to spread civilian nuclear energy to power-hungry countries because Russia would provide a place to send the used radioactive material.
At the same time, it could draw significant opposition from across the ideological spectrum, according to analysts who follow the issue. Critics wary of Putin's authoritarian course view it as rewarding Russia even though Moscow refuses to support sanctions against Iran.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
Ah geeze! What is it with us and Russia, since the 'end of the cold war'? They're headed straight back to the old commie way, as long as Putin is in charge. Or, is it just me that sees that?
Russia doesn't want this stuff just to store it in its own version of Yucca Mountain.
Reminds me of the scrap metal we sent to Japan before World War Two. It came back to bite us.
Mr. Bush is stepping on his Johnson again.
No, you're not the only one who sees it. It's just that the president seems to be blind to it.
"Reminds me of the scrap metal we sent to Japan before World War Two. It came back to bite us."Your analogy is actually incorrect in this case. There are various grades of spent nuclear fuel and there are ways of mixing it down with other inert binding agents to make it completely unusable for any further energy extraction, not to mention weapon manufacure purpose. So no, its not just a simple matter of "smelting it all down" like Japan did with the scrap metal and "turning out nukes". It simply doesn't work this way.
I thought Russia was depending on us to get rid of a lot of spent fuel they had at understaff facilities.Regardless of understaffed, underequipped and poorly guarded facilities (which was much more of a problem in an early-mid 90s than now) this was never the case. We did help Russia with surveillance and monitoring equipment at some of those facilities, however, and also helped them mix down weapon's grade plutonium into a plutonium-uranium mix, which could be used to power reactors, but not to make bombs.
They're headed straight back to the old commie way, as long as Putin is in charge. Or, is it just me that sees that?With the current trend in demographics eventually they won't be headed anywhere.
Didn't Putin just refuse to help us with sanctions against North Korea this week?
I am aware of the differences, and the difficulties of dealing with this intractable and poisonous material.
But again I refer to the interest by the Russians in what everyone else considers a dangerous nuisance substance.
Another way to look at it is that the material is a high-value, low-grade ore. Perhaps they are simply looking to the long term, when their oil and gas may no longer have the cachet that it now enjoys.
Even assuming that they are not interested in building weapons, this would provide them a great deal of fuel capability for nuclear reactors, even though the extraction process would be laborious, energy-intensive, and costly in terms of human risk. They may seek to sell reactors to others around the world, or supplement their own energy infrastructure.
In truth I applaud this possibility. But I would prefer that we were doing it. Our energy infrastructure certainly needs enhancement.
My husband shares your view.
I see Russia as playing a very deceptive game these last couple of years. Seems like everybody they are friends with is an enemy of ours. And they are the ones who hustled the WMD out of Iraq, because they had "gift of Russia" written on most of them.
The question is whether they are just playing both ends against the middle in order to get as much money for their oil as possible, or are attempting a strategic realignment to include the Islamic world with them and China (and oil producing Latin American countries) as a major bloc against the U.S..
I tend also to believe the later, but think with radical Islam they are riding a tiger that will eat them eventually.
Hard to avoid. It's pretty long.
"Bush resisted such a move for years, insisting that Russia first stop building a nuclear power station for Iran near the Persian Gulf. But U.S. officials have shifted their view of Russia's collaboration with Iran and concluded that President Vladimir Putin has become a more constructive partner in trying to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations for nuclear weapons."
Bush, my friends, has completely gone over the edge---and he aint comin' back.
"The question is whether they are just playing both ends against the middle in order to get as much money for their oil as possible, or are attempting a strategic realignment to include the Islamic world with them and China (and oil producing Latin American countries) as a major bloc against the U.S."
It's not even a question. They are in way too deep for all "play both ends against the middle strategy". They give our enemies everything and the only thing they give us is words.
"But again I refer to the interest by the Russians in what everyone else considers a dangerous nuisance substance."The implications of that very interest may, after initial contact with an Occum's razor, suggest a pattern more indicative of a self-serving attitude of the Russian government, than a geopolitical conspiracy of Golytsynesque proportion. Most average Russians are highly suspicious of this deal, thinking (quite cynically, but not groundlessly!) that any revenue generated by this deal will dissapear into the pockets of inept, corrupt and unaccountable Ministry of Atomic Energy officials, while the country is turned into the world's largest toxic waste dump (if it isn't already). I believe the most direct threat to the U.S. stemming from this development is more opportunity for terror groups to aquire dirty bomb material through mismanagement and mishandling of it. The reports I've seen about various missing radioactive materials in the FSU over the past decade are sometimes frightening. In the past 5 years the situation got better, but still...
Thanks for the info as to how we worked with the Russians on the earlier on spent fuel rods issue.
Seems like we never learn...Russia did nothing to help with Afghanistan, Iraq or N. Korea. Perverted Putin has been a stumbling block..not to mention helping Iran with nukes and helping Saddam get rid of his WMD's. Bush should tell Putin to go "screw himself"!!
Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.
When George first took office in 2001 I saw so many dangers out there for him to deal with and looking around it appeared to me he would be going it alone without backup.
Tony Blair has been a pleasant surprise.
But there are far too many in this country who should have had his six and have instead proven they aren't men to go to the well with.
"But there are far too many in this country who should have had his six and have instead proven they aren't men to go to the well with."
You sound aware of the external dangers but not clear about (or awfully polite) about internal ones. Some of the men you refer to are quite capable. They are simply on the side of the enemy.
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