Magazine article Arms Control Today

U.S. Reportedly Offers Russia Deal on Bushehr

Magazine article Arms Control Today

U.S. Reportedly Offers Russia Deal on Bushehr

Article excerpt

NEWS AND NEGOTIATIONS

THE UNITED STATES has reportedly offered Russia access to spent nuclear fuel if it ends its role in constructing a nuclear reactor near the Iranian city of Bushehr. The State Department would not directly confirm that the lucrative offer had been made but said October 23 that the United States would be willing to offer the transfer "of spent reactor fuel currently held by third countries" to Russia as incentive to halt nuclear cooperation with Iran.

Russian Atomic Energy Ministry spokesman Yuri Bespalko expressed doubts about the sincerity of Washington's proposal, however, citing Washington's failure to fulfill a promise of removing trade restrictions imposed by the 1974 Jackson-Vannick Amendment, according to the October 22 Washington Post article that first reported the deal. A Bush administration official interviewed October 30 differed with the Post's account, saying that a spent fuel deal has been discussed for several years and that Russia was more receptive to it than the spokesman s statement suggests.

The official said that several countries are seeking ways to dispose of their nuclear waste and would be interested in paying Russia to take it from them. Washington would have to approve the transfer of most of the material because the United States originally supplied it and has agreements with recipient countries requiring Washington's permission for shipment to third parties, the official explained. …

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