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Nuclear Cooperation Agreements

Before U.S. companies can obtain an export license for nuclear equipment or materials, the United States must conclude a bilateral agreement for civil nuclear trade, or Section 123 agreement. The purpose of these agreements is to prevent diversion of U.S. commercial nuclear materials, components and technology from their intended peaceful use.

The United States has Section 123 agreements in place with 21 countries, Euratom (which includes 27 member countries), the International Atomic Energy Agency and Taiwan. Seven of these agreements are scheduled to expire by 2015. These expiring agreements include not only the International Atomic Energy Agency, but also major nuclear trading partners like South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Timely renewal of these agreements is critical to continuation of nuclear trade between U.S. firms and firms in these nations.

Many nations that are developing new nuclear programs do not have a Section 123 agreement with the United States, which closes the market to American businesses. Meanwhile, foreign suppliers are actively pursuing nuclear project development in these countries. For example, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Malaysia—all with interest in expanding nuclear energy—do not have 123 agreements with the United States and, consequently, these markets are not open to U.S. exporters.

Resources on Nuclear Cooperation Agreements

Additional Background Material