Magazine article Arms Control Today

Report Urges Progress on New U.S.-EURATOM Agreement

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Report Urges Progress on New U.S.-EURATOM Agreement

Article excerpt

U.S. AND EUROPEAN negotiators are scheduled to meet December 1-2 in Brussels to negotiate a new nuclear cooperation agreement, but time may be running out. The last negotiating round ended October 5 in Washington without any real progress. The current agreement between the United States and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) does not expire until December 31, 1995, but congressional approval of any new pact could take months.

A panel report released November 4 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) warns that failure to achieve a new agreement in the coming months could seriously harm U.S.-European relations, jeopardize U.S. nuclear commerce globally and might even decrease the prospects for achieving an indefinite extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995.

The main disagreement in the negotiations is on the rights the United States will have to control fissile material of U.S. origin. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Act (NNPA) of 1978 requires that all new nuclear cooperation agreements include a clause giving the United States the authority to approve nuclear activities involving U.S.-controlled materials. European negotiators have objected to including such controls in the new agreement, arguing that as an equal partner and a proven supporter of non-proliferation efforts, no such approval rights over EURATOM activities are warranted. EURATOM is particularly concerned that in the future Washington might block lucrative European contracts to reprocess plutonium of U. …

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