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Nuclear Cooperation Pact Welcomed

The United States and Russia welcomed Friday the U.S. Congress’ passing of a new accord that will allow them to significantly expand cooperation in civilian nuclear energy.

U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said the framework pact — known as the 123 agreement because its requirements are set in Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act — would help boost nonproliferation efforts and create new business opportunities.

“It’s going to allow the U.S. and Russia to deepen our existing cooperation on nonproliferation and nuclear security … it’s going to help to create opportunities to bring nuclear power cooperation to a new level” he said.

The deal did not require congressional approval, but Congress could have rejected it within 90 days of continuous session — a period that elapsed Thursday. Poneman said the pact would come into effect after a formal exchange of notes.

Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom, also hailed the new pact as a key vehicle for boosting U.S.-Russian civilian nuclear cooperation.

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