Obama Team Seeks to Renew U.N. Nuclear Supply Pact

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, left, and U.S. Ambassador Joseph MacManus on Jan. 21 sign a measure to extend Washington's trade agreement with the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
Feb. 3, 2014, 7:06 a.m.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is push­ing for a 40-year ex­ten­sion to its nuc­le­ar trade agree­ment with the U.N. nuc­le­ar watch­dog agency.

A pro­pos­al sub­mit­ted to Con­gress last week would re­new for an­oth­er 40 years a dec­ades-old ac­cord that lets Wash­ing­ton sup­ply non­mil­it­ary nuc­le­ar as­sets to the In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency and its mem­ber states. The ex­ist­ing agree­ment ini­tially was im­ple­men­ted in 1959 and the new ex­ten­sion would al­low it to re­main in force a total of 95 years.

The White House said the pact cov­ers trans­fers of nuc­le­ar-ma­ter­i­al samples in sup­port of IAEA safe­guards in­spec­tions, which seek to pre­vent the spread of nuc­le­ar-arms cap­ab­il­it­ies. It also per­mits the pro­vi­sion of atom­ic-re­act­or com­pon­ents in in­ter­na­tion­al deals fa­cil­it­ated by the Vi­enna-based or­gan­iz­a­tion.

“The agree­ment ex­em­pli­fies the U.S. gov­ern­ment’s strong sup­port for IAEA peace­ful uses activ­it­ies, and the United States looks for­ward to ex­pand­ing these co­oper­at­ive ef­forts in the years to come,” the State De­part­ment said.

Last week’s sub­mis­sion of the re­new­al lan­guage to Cap­it­ol Hill kicked off a 90-day peri­od dur­ing which Con­gress could po­ten­tially ob­ject to the pro­pos­al. The ex­ten­sion amend­ment came up only in passing dur­ing a Thursday Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee hear­ing de­voted mainly to U.S. nuc­le­ar trade and non­pro­lif­er­a­tion policy, gov­erned by Sec­tion 123 of the 1954 U.S. Atom­ic En­ergy Act.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has not re­leased the text of the pro­posed amend­ment, or the un­clas­si­fied sec­tion of an ac­com­pa­ny­ing Nuc­le­ar Pro­lif­er­a­tion As­sess­ment State­ment sub­mit­ted to U.S. law­makers.

In a Novem­ber state­ment, Wash­ing­ton’s en­voy to the U.N. nuc­le­ar watch­dog said the United States has sup­plied atom­ic ma­ter­i­als or tech­no­logy to 28 coun­tries since the ac­cord took ef­fect in 1959.

“This pro­posed [re­new­al lan­guage] is ex­tremely short and simple, and its ne­go­ti­at­ors took care not to dis­turb the mech­an­isms that have worked ef­fect­ively for dec­ades to en­hance co­oper­a­tion as dir­ec­ted by the agency’s stat­ute,” ad­ded Am­bas­sad­or Joseph Mac­Manus, who signed the ex­ten­sion meas­ure on Jan. 21 with IAEA Dir­ect­or Gen­er­al Yukiya Amano.

The re­new­al meas­ure would up­date the co­oper­a­tion deal to in­clude the latest IAEA re­com­mend­a­tions for phys­ic­ally se­cur­ing nuc­le­ar ma­ter­i­als and sites.

What We're Following See More »
A RARE KIND OF REBUKE
Leading Republicans Would Say ‘No Thanks’ If Asked to Be Trump’s VP
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Nikki Haley. Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. John Kasich. The list is growing ever longer of Republicans who say they wouldn't even consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. "The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles."

Source:
NEW WSJ/NBC/MARIST POLL
Trump Decisively Ahead in Indiana
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters — followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin in Indiana holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on a glide path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July."

Source:
TAKING A ‘GAP YEAR’ IN BETWEEN
Obamas’ Eldest Daughter Will Attend Harvard
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a statement released on Sunday, President and Mrs. Obama revealed that their oldest daughter, Malia, will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017 as a member of the Class of 2021. She will take a year off before beginning school.

STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
×