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Signature of EURATOM-USA agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation

On 7 November 1995, a new Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation was signed between the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and the United States of America. The new Agreement will provide the basis for nuclear cooperation in the areas of research, industrial trade ...

On 7 November 1995, a new Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation was signed between the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and the United States of America. The new Agreement will provide the basis for nuclear cooperation in the areas of research, industrial trade and safety. The negotiations between the two sides, which have been lengthy and difficult, started in 1992 and ended successfully last May. The new Agreement, which will remain in force for 30 years, followed possibly by subsequent 5-year roll-over periods, guarantees the following framework as long as it remains in force: - Any non-sensitive nuclear activities, as well as enrichment up to 20%, irradiation of fissile materials and post-irradiation examination involving chemical dissolution or separation of irradiated nuclear material will be freely and unconditionally allowed; - Re-transfers to third countries will be authorized on a long-term basis according to procedures set out in the agreement; - Storage of sensitive fissile material will be possible in any facility that meets the usual physical protection levels; - Reprocessing and alteration in form or content (e.g. fabrication of certain fuel elements) of sensitive fissile materials will take place under a generic programmatic consent, in facilities forming part of the list of nuclear facilities ("peaceful programme") listed by each party. Although the EU is no longer dependent on the US in the nuclear sector, the agreement provides a secure and favourable basis for considerable cooperation and trade between the nuclear industries of the two sides, as well as a number of third countries, and provides a durable framework for this trade to expand in the future. The EU and the US are the two major players in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The new agreement constitutes a strong expression of the political and economic value of the partnership that exists between the two parties. There is also no doubt that certain key third countries, such as Japan, will welcome the new agreement as bringing stability to nuclear cooperation and trading in the industrial world. The EU, its Member States and the United States are fully committed to non-proliferation which forms a key basis of their cooperation. Any form of cooperation under the new agreement is for peaceful use only. It is provided that all material is subject to international instruments dealing with their physical protection and security. In addition, safety aspects are also covered. The new agreement ensures that internationally accepted levels of non-proliferation and physical protection apply indefinitely to all material and sets an appropriate example for other countries. The Agreement is expected to enter into force in the early part of next year following approval by the US Congress.

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