Russia, US sign nuclear cooperation deal

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Moscow, May 6 (UNI) Ahead of President Vladimir Putin stepping down tomorrow, Russia and the US today signed a key agreement here on cooperation in civilian nuclear power which is set to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.

Russia's top nuclear official, Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko and US Ambassador William Burns signed the deal, in the Moscow President Hotel.

Without a deal, cooperation potentially worth billions of dollars was severely limited and required official consent.

''The signing of the document will provide for the normal development of atomic energy and the nuclear fuel cycle while reducing the risk of the proliferation of atomic weapons,'' Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom said in a statement.

The deal will also allow the two countries to widen cooperation in areas such as storing nuclear materials.

''The agreement lays down a legal basis for the direct cooperation between the companies of the countries in this sphere,'' Kiriyenko said.

At the 2006 Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg, US President George W Bush and Putin blessed the deal but it had faced opposition from some US congressmen because of Russia's cooperation with Iran.


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