The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Message from the President Regarding a Peaceful Nuclear Agreement with Russia
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
I am pleased to transmit to the Congress, pursuant to sections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2153(b), (d)) (the "Act"), the text of a proposed Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (the "Agreement"). I am also pleased to transmit my written approval of the proposed Agreement and determination that the proposed Agreement will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security, together with a copy of an unclassified Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement (NPAS) concerning the Agreement. In accordance with section 123 of the Act, as amended by title XII of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-277), classified annexes to the NPAS, prepared by the Secretary of State in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, summarizing relevant classified information, will be submitted to the Congress separately.
The proposed Agreement was signed in Moscow on May 6, 2008. Former President George W. Bush approved the Agreement and authorized its execution, and he made the determinations required by section 123 b. of the Act. (Presidential Determination 2008-19 of May 5, 2008, 73 FR 27719 (May 14, 2008)).
On May 13, 2008, President Bush transmitted the Agreement, together with his Presidential Determination, an unclassified NPAS, and classified annex, to the Congress for review (see House Doc. 110-112, May 13, 2008). On September 8, 2008, prior to the completion of the 90-day continuous session review period, he sent a message informing the Congress that "in view of recent actions by the Government of the Russian Federation incompatible with peaceful relations with its sovereign and democratic neighbor, Georgia," he had determined that his earlier determination (concerning performance of the proposed Agreement promoting, and not constituting an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security) was no longer effective. He further stated that if circumstances should permit future reconsideration by the Congress, a new determination would be made and the proposed Agreement resubmitted.
After review of the situation and of the NPAS and classified annex, I have concluded: (1) that the situation in Georgia need no longer be considered an obstacle to proceeding with the proposed Agreement; and (2) that the level and scope of U.S.-Russia cooperation on Iran are sufficient to justify resubmitting the proposed Agreement to the Congress for the statutory review period of 90 days of continuous session and, absent enactment of legislation to disapprove it, taking the remaining steps to bring it into force.
The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Energy, and the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have recommended that I resubmit the proposed Agreement to the Congress for review. The joint memorandum submitted to me by the Secretaries of State and Energy and a letter from the Chairman of the NRC stating the views of the Commission are enclosed.
I have considered the views and recommendations of the interested departments and agencies in reviewing the proposed Agreement, and have determined that performance of the proposed Agreement will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security. Accordingly, I have approved the proposed Agreement and urge the Congress to give the proposed Agreement favorable consideration.
My reasons for resubmitting the proposed Agreement to the Congress for its review at this time are as follows:
The United States and Russia have significantly increased cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation and civil nuclear energy in the last 12 months, starting with the establishment of the Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Group on Nuclear Energy and Security. In our July 2009 Joint Statement on Nuclear Cooperation, Russian President Medvedev and I acknowledged the shared vision between the United States and Russia of the growth of clean, safe, and secure nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and committed to work together to bring into force the agreement for nuclear cooperation to achieve this end. The Russian government has indicated its support for a new United Nations Security Council Resolution on Iran and has begun to engage on specific resolution elements with P5 members in New York. On April 8, 2010, the United States and Russia signed an historic New START Treaty significantly reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons both countries may deploy. On April 13, both sides signed the Protocol to amend the 2000 U.S. Russian Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, which is an essential step toward fulfilling each country's commitment to effectively and transparently dispose of at least 34 metric tons of excess weapon-grade plutonium, enough for about 17,000 nuclear weapons, with more envisioned to be disposed in the future. Russia recently established an international nuclear fuel reserve in Angarsk to provide an incentive to other nations not to acquire sensitive uranium enrichment technologies. Joint U.S. and Russian leadership continue to successfully guide the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism as it becomes a durable international institution. The United States believes these events demonstrate significant progress in the U.S.-Russia nuclear nonproliferation relationship and that it is now appropriate to move forward with this Agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The proposed Agreement has been negotiated in accordance with the Act and other applicable laws. In my judgment, it meets all applicable statutory requirements and will advance the nonproliferation and other foreign policy interests of the United States.
The proposed Agreement provides a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation with Russia based on a mutual commitment to nuclear nonproliferation. It has a term of 30 years, and permits the transfer, subject to subsequent U.S. licensing decisions, of technology, material, equipment (including reactors), and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production. It does not permit transfers of Restricted Data. Transfers of sensitive nuclear technology, sensitive nuclear facilities, and major critical components of such facilities may only occur if the Agreement is amended to cover such transfers. In the event of termination, key nonproliferation conditions and controls continue with respect to material, equipment, and components subject to the Agreement.
The Russian Federation is a nuclear weapon state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Like the United States, it has a "voluntary offer" safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). That agreement gives the IAEA the right to apply safeguards on all source or special fissionable material at peaceful-use nuclear facilities on a list provided by Russia. The Russian Federation is also a party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which establishes international standards of physical protection for the use, storage, and transport of nuclear material. It is also a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, whose non-legally binding guidelines set forth standards for the responsible export of nuclear commodities for peaceful use. A more detailed discussion of Russia's domestic civil nuclear program and its nuclear nonproliferation policies and practices, including its nuclear export policies and practices, is provided in the NPAS and in the classified annexes to the NPAS submitted to the Congress separately.
This transmittal shall constitute a submittal for purposes of both sections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Act. My Administration is prepared to immediately begin the consultations with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and House Committee on Foreign Affairs as provided in section 123 b. Upon completion of the 30-day continuous session period provided for in section 123 b., the 60-day continuous session period provided for in section 123 d. shall commence.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
May 10, 2010.