Russia and the United States have enacted a historic nuclear cooperation pact that will enable the two countries to collaborate in atomic technologies for the first time in the history of their relations.

The agreement entered into force on Tuesday after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle exchanged respective diplomatic notes in Moscow.

“This key bilateral agreement provides the legal framework necessary for developing full-fledged and effective cooperation in civilian nuclear power generation,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement.

The accord paves the way to “mutually advantageous joint projects and future-oriented scientific and technological research,” said the Russian statement.

The 123 agreement was signed in May 2008 but was frozen later the same year by Washington over the Russia-Georgia war. U.S. President Barack Obama persuaded the Congress to ratify the pact in December as part of his policy of “reset” in relations with Russia. The deal would allow Russia to store and reprocess U.S. spent fuel and would give the U.S access to state-of-the-art Russian nuclear technologies. Experts said the U.S., which has not built a single nuclear reactor in the past 30 years, is especially interested in fast-neutron reactors, as well as in recycling nuclear fuel and buying Russian enriched uranium.

“The 123 agreement represents a major step forward in U.S.-Russian civil nuclear cooperation, enabling two of the world's leading nuclear powers to work together to find solutions to global problems,” said Ambassador Mr. Beyrle in a statement.

Keywords: US-Russia ties

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