Nuclear cooperation the name of the game

11 January 2011

Diplomats from six countries have been busy, with Romania and Japan signing bilateral agreements in Jordan and Saudi Arabia and the final entry into force of a cooperation agreement between Russia and the USA.  


Teodor Baconschi and Nasser Judeh (Image: Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Baconschi and Judeh sign Romanian-
Jordanian agreement (Image: Jordanian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

An agreement on nuclear energy development signed by Romania and Jordan is the first such bilateral to be completed by Romania with a Middle Eastern country. The agreement was signed by the Romanian and Jordanian foreign ministers, Teodor Baconschi and Nasser Judeh, during a visit to Amman by Baconschi.

Poor in terms of both energy and water resources, Jordan has ambitions for nuclear power to provide up to 30% of its energy by 2030 or 2040, and the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) plans to start building its first 750-1100 MWe nuclear power plant in 2013 for operation by 2020 and a second one for operation by 2025. It has signed nuclear cooperation agreements covering both power and desalination with numerous countries, and has already drawn up a shortlist of three preferred bidders for its first nuclear plant. The list includes the Enhanced Candu-6 design from AECL. Romania, meanwhile, has two operating Candu reactors and plans to build two more.

Meanwhile, the Japanese press reported that Japan and Saudi Arabia had signed an agreement on expediting the construction of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia. According to Kyodo News, the agreement was signed in Riyadh by Japanese economy, trade and industry minister Akihiro Ohata and Hashin bin Abdullah Yamani, head of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy, the Saudi Arabian agency set up to lead its nuclear activities.

123 go!

The intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of atomic energy between the USA and Russia - usually referred to as the 123 Agreement - entered into force following an exchange of diplomatic notes between the two countries at a ceremony in Moscow. The agreement, which will last for 30 years, provides the necessary legal framework for full cooperation between the two countries but its entry into force has been a long time coming. The agreement was signed in May 2008 after a decade of negotiations, only to be put on hold later that year by then US President George Bush in the wake of Russian intervention in troubles between the republic of Georgia and the separatist region of South Ossetia.

The agreement was resubmitted to the US Congress by President Barack Obama in May 2010 and duly passed in December.

John Byerly, US Ambassador to Russia, described the document as a "major step forward" in US-Russian civil nuclear cooperation. The agreement is expected to open the door to international trade in a variety of areas and enable greater cooperation on reactor and fuel cycle technologies, as well as non-proliferation initiatives.

India-Canada next?

A civil nuclear deal between India and Canada could soon follow, according to reports in the Indian press. Quoting Canada's high commissioner to the country, Stewart G Beck, The Hindu reported that the nuclear power agreement between the two countries is likely to be ratified by the Canadian parliament in February.


The agreement was signed in June 2010, but will also need to be ratified by the Indian parliament before it enters into force.


Researched and written 

by World Nuclear News 


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