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The White House

Message from the President on the US-UAE Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy Agreement


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                         May 21, 2009


I am pleased to transmit to the Congress, pursuant to sections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2153(b), (d)) (the "Act"), the text of a proposed Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Arab Emirates Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. I am also pleased to transmit my written approval, authorization, and determination concerning the Agreement, and an unclassified Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement (NPAS) concerning the Agreement. (In accordance with section 123 of the Act, as amended by Title XII of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-277), a classified annex to the NPAS, prepared by the Secretary of State in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, summarizing relevant classified information, will be submitted to the Congress separately.) The joint memorandum submitted to me by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Energy and a letter from the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stating the views of the Commission are also enclosed.

The proposed Agreement has been negotiated in accordance with the Act and other applicable law. In my judgment, it meets all applicable statutory requirements and will advance the nonproliferation and other foreign policy interests of the United States.

The Agreement provides a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based on a mutual commitment to nuclear nonproliferation. The United States and the UAE are entering into it in the context of a stated intention by the UAE to rely on existing international markets for nuclear fuel services as an alternative to the pursuit of enrichment and reprocessing. Article 7 will transform this UAE policy into a legally binding obligation from the UAE to the United States upon entry into force of the Agreement. Article 13 provides, inter alia, that if the UAE at any time following entry into force of the Agreement materially violates Article 7, the United States will have a right to cease further cooperation under the Agreement, require the return of items subject to the Agreement, and terminate the Agreement by giving 90 days written notice. In view of these and other nonproliferation features, the Agreement has the potential to serve as a model for other countries in the region that wish to pursue responsible nuclear energy development.

The Agreement has a term of 30 years and permits the transfer of technology, material, equipment (including reactors), and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production. It does not permit transfers of Restricted Data, sensitive nuclear technology, sensitive nuclear facilities, or major critical components of such facilities. In the event of termination of the Agreement, key nonproliferation conditions and controls continue with respect to material, equipment, and components subject to the Agreement.

In addition to the UAE's obligation to forgo enrichment and reprocessing – the first instance of such an obligation on the part of a U.S. cooperating partner in an agreement of this type – the Agreement contains certain additional nonproliferation features not typically found in such agreements. These are modeled on similar provisions in the 1981 U.S.-Egypt Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation and include (a) a right of the United States to require the removal of special fissionable material subject to the Agreement from the UAE either to the United States or to a third country if exceptional circumstances of concern from a nonproliferation standpoint so require, and (b) confirmation by the United States that the fields of cooperation, terms, and conditions accorded by the United States to the UAE shall be no less favorable in scope and effect than those that the United States may accord to any other non-nuclear-weapon State in the Middle East in a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement. The Agreement also provides, for the first time in a U.S. agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation, that prior to U.S. licensing of exports of nuclear material, equipment, components, or technology pursuant to the Agreement, the UAE shall bring into force the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement.

The UAE is a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The United States is a nuclear-weapon State party to the NPT. Article 12 of the proposed Agreement provides that the Agreement shall not be interpreted as affecting the inalienable rights of the United States and the UAE under the NPT. A more detailed discussion of the UAE's intended civil nuclear program and its nonproliferation policies and practices is provided in the NPAS and in a classified Annex to the NPAS to be submitted to the Congress separately.
The Agreed Minute to the Agreement provides U.S. prior approval for retransfers by the UAE of irradiated nuclear material subject to the Agreement to France and the United Kingdom, if consistent with their respective policies, laws, and regulations, for storage or reprocessing subject to specified conditions, including that prior agreement between the United States and the UAE is required for the transfer of any special fissionable material recovered from any such reprocessing to the UAE. The transferred material would also have to be held within the European Atomic Energy Community subject to the Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy Between the United States of America and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).
In view of the fact that this consent would constitute a subsequent arrangement under the Act if agreed separately from the proposed Agreement, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Energy have ensured that the advance approval provisions meet the applicable requirements of section 131 of the Act. Specifically, they have concluded that the U.S. advance approval for retransfer of nuclear material for reprocessing or storage contained in the Agreed Minute to the proposed Agreement is not inimical to the common defense and security. An analysis of the advance approval given in the Agreed Minute is contained in the NPAS.

This transmission shall constitute a submittal for purposes of both sections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Act. My Administration is prepared to begin immediately the consultations with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee as provided in section 123 b. Upon completion of the period of 30 days of continuous session provided for in section 123 b., the period of 60 days of continuous session provided for in section 123 d. shall commence.

May 21, 2009.