On Thursday, June 12 the House Foreign Relations Committee met for over three hours and heard testimony from members of the Committee, a representative of the Bush administration, and expert witnesses regarding the pros and cons of supporting the Agreement Between the United States and Russia for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (Agreement) that President Bush submitted to Congress. As discussed in an earlier blog, the Agreement will have to sit before the Congress for 90 continuous days, and will pass unless Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval. Such legislation, H.J.Res 85, has already been submitted by Congressman Edward J. Markey (D – MA), a staunch opponent to nuclear power and thus to civilian nuclear cooperation agreements. The mood of those legislators at the hearing was generally one of skepticism, as members of Congress searched for reasons to support the Agreement. Continue reading
Compared to all the excitement created by the US-Indian nuclear trade deal, the Russian equivalent, submitted last week, created barely a ripple [caution: big file to download]. While FAS strongly opposes the US-Indian nuclear trade agreement, the Russian case is much more complex.
There are reasons to oppose the Russian deal and reasons to support it. The calculation is further complicated because some of the reasons, in my opinion the primary reason, for opposing the deal are not because of specific problems with the deal, per se, but because the deal is a surrogate for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which is itself a breathtakingly bad idea.