Washington, D.C. – Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced today new legislation, the Nuclear Nonproliferation and Cooperation Act of 2011 (H.R. 1320), to reform and update the statute that governs civil nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries.
“The nonproliferation conditions governing civil nuclear cooperation agreements with other counties have not been updated since 1978, and the world has changed immensely since then,” said Congressman Berman. “Updating this statue will help us balance the increasing global reliance on civilian nuclear power with the vital imperative to reduce and eliminate the terrifying prospect of terrorists obtaining nuclear material for a nuclear weapon or for use in a radiological bomb.”
In addition to introducing the Nuclear Nonproliferation and Cooperation Act of 2011, Congressman Berman also has co-sponsored legislation authored by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which also aims to reform and update the statute that governs civil nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries. Both pieces of legislation require all future agreements, when appropriate, to include commitments to not conduct enrichment and reprocessing activities. This provision, which was first embodied in the U.S.-U.A.E. civil nuclear agreement, is also known as the “Gold Standard.”
However, the two pieces of legislation differ on the need to make all future agreements – even non-controversial renewals of existing agreements - reliant on Congressional approval. Therefore, Congressman Berman’s bill will retain the “fast-track” approach already within law for agreements that meet all nonproliferation requirements, including the new ones such as no-enrichment-or-reprocessing and an Additional Protocol for safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency in force. Under the legislation, these nonproliferation-compliant agreements would, as now, go into force unless Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval.
On supporting Chairman Ros-Lehtinen’s proposed legislation and introducing his own legislation, Congressman Berman said, “Our bills highlight the significant bipartisan agreement within the Committee, and that I expect to find in this Congress, to reform and update how the United States cooperates with other nations on nuclear energy. Incorporation of the Gold Standard of no-enrichment, no-reprocessing in these agreements is especially important. I look forward to working closely with Chairman Ros-Lehtinen on these bills as the Committee considers these important nonproliferation matters.”