Share | Contact Us | NPEC Email Alerts |
Missiles and Missile Defense The Nonproliferation Regime Nuclear Power Economics Nuclear Abolition & The Next Arms Race

  
 

Follow @NuclearPolicy to be the first in on NPEC's latest research

 
More of NPEC’s Work
A chronological listing by resource:

Articles | Working Papers | Interviews | Official Docs & Letters | Op-Eds & Blogs | Press Releases | Presentations | Audio & Video | Testimony & Transcripts
 
HOME > TOPICS > The Nonproliferation Regime      
NPEC's Executive Director Signs Letters to House and Senate Urging Support for Nonproliferation Gold Standard

A bipartisan group of nuclear and security policy experts urge the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to support stricter Congressional oversight of U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements, including H.R. 3766, the nonproliferation Gold Standard. Full text of letters and PDF versions accessible below. 

Mar 19, 2014

House letter  
Download the House letter in PDF format  

(Senate letter available below)

 

March 19, 2014

The Honorable Ed Royce
United States House of Representatives
Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2185 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
 
cc: Members of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
 
Dear Chairman Royce:
 
We are writing to urge you to support passage of H.R. 3766, which Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Brad Sherman introduced last December to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. H.R. 3766 would require Congressional approval of agreements for peaceful nuclear cooperation that fail to meet the Gold Standard as well as certain subsequent agreements to enrich or reprocess US-origin nuclear materials. This bill is identical to H.R. 1280, which you co-sponsored during the last Congress. 
 
We believe passage of this legislation is necessary to assure Congress plays its proper role to assure that U.S. civil nuclear assistance is not misused for nuclear weapons. While we are not all in agreement about the substance of the administration’s current nuclear diplomacy with Iran, we all agree that we must avoid future Irans – states that claim to be engaging in peaceful nuclear activities that the U.S. starts to cooperate with only to find that they are developing a nuclear weapons capability by enriching uranium or reprocessing plutonium. We believe that unless Congress asserts its prerogative to vote on certain agreements that fail to meet certain nonproliferation conditions, it will not be in the strongest position to assess the adequacy of future civil nuclear cooperation agreements. We also believe, in light of reports that the U.S.-Vietnam agreement is of an indefinite duration, that it is essential that Congress insist that all U.S. nuclear cooperative agreements be of fixed duration and require a periodic Congressional reauthorization.
 
After the Indian test explosion in 1974, Congress in 1978 amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to mandate tougher bulwarks against the diversion of U.S. nuclear assistance for military uses. The amendment put in place nine new provisions, including the requirement that recipients of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation have in place full scope safeguards. Agreements with states that were not members of the NPT would require a Congressional vote of approval. The Atomic Energy Act has not been updated since 1978.
 
After our experience with Iran, as well as (1) the growing interest in nuclear power in geopolitically sensitive regions of the globe, (2) the promulgation of the Gold Standard in the UAE and Taiwan agreements, and (3) new NSG rules that make it highly unlikely that other nuclear suppliers can even offer to transfer enrichment or reprocessing technology or equipment to these states, we believe it is time to revise the Atomic Energy Act again to reflect the proliferation realities of today.
 
We stand ready to assist you in addressing this national security concern.
 
Sincerely,
 
Ambassador John R. Bolton
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
 
Peter Bradford
Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner
 
Jack David
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction and Negotiations Policy
 
Paula A. DeSutter
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance
 
Ambassador Eric Edelman
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
 
Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr. (Ret.)
Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
 
Victor Gilinsky
Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner
 
Ambassador Robert G. Joseph
Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
 
Jodi Lieberman
Senior Government Relations Specialist, American Physical Society
 
Matthew McKinzie
Director, Nuclear Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
 
Gary Milhollin
President of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control
 
Kingston Reif
Director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
 
Henry S. Rowen
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
 
Henry D. Sokolski
Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
 
Ambassador Mark Wallace
Chief Executive Officer of United Against Nuclear Iran
 
Leonard Weiss
Former Staff Director for Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
 
Dov S. Zakheim
Former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
 
Robert Zarate
Policy Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative 
 
 

(House letter available above)

 

March 19, 2014
 
The Honorable Robert Menendez
United States Senate
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
528 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
 
cc: Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
 
Dear Chairman Menendez:
 
We are writing first to thank you for holding a hearing on January 30th to help clarify our government’s policy regarding new civil nuclear cooperation agreements and the Gold Standard. Although this hearing came two years after many of us first petitioned your committee to hold it, with all that is happening in Iran, as well as the growing interest in nuclear power in East Asia and the Middle East, the testimony and questioning were timely and essential. 
 
Certainly, your line of inquiry with the government witnesses highlighting some of the inconsistencies in U.S. nonproliferation and civilian nuclear trade policy was appropriate. We also were encouraged by your suggestion that legislation might be needed to assure Congress has a clearer role in shaping our atomic commerce policy.
 
Several of us have long supported the key legislative provisions contained in H.R. 1280 (now H.R. 3766). These include the requirement that any new U.S. civil nuclear cooperation agreement lacking proscriptions against enriching uranium or recycling plutonium can only come into force after it is approved by a joint resolution of Congress. Yet another provision worth considering is the requirement that no reprocessing of spent fuel generated in U.S. reactors or from U.S.-origin fuel, nor enrichment of U.S.-origin uranium, be allowed (except in states that already have prior approval to do so) unless Congress again passes a joint resolution of approval with regard to each request. Other revisions worthy of consideration include requiring that the recipients of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation have in force the Additional Protocol and working with the Executive Branch to more clearly define what issues should be addressed by Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statements.
 
Clarifying in law precisely when Congress would have to vote on such resolutions would be welcomed by all parties. We also believe, in light of report that the U.S.-Vietnam agreement is of an indefinite duration, that it is essential that Congress insist that all U.S. nuclear cooperative agreements be of fixed duration and require a periodic Congressional reauthorization. Of course, an important goal in promoting such requirements would be to encourage our government to get the other nuclear suppliers who still depend on U.S. nuclear technology, cooperation and trade, to follow our example. 
 
Finally, and on a separate note, we would encourage your committee to determine why the U.S. should not engage Japan to renegotiate its civil nuclear cooperation agreement before 2018. The State Department claims the U.S. is under no legal obligation to do so. Yet, it is equally clear that the United States can legally call for such renegotiation if it so desires. Given the awkwardness of the U.S. demanding renegotiation of South Korean civil nuclear cooperation and the review the Japanese government itself is conducting now about the utility of closing its fuel cycle, we believe this is an issue set worthy of reconsideration and a hearing.
 
We applaud your assertion of Congress’ prerogatives and oversight responsibilities and stand ready to assist you in any additional efforts you or your Committee might take to clarify U.S. nonproliferation policies further and strengthen Congress’ role in shaping this policy.
 
Sincerely,
 
Ambassador John R. Bolton
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
 
Peter Bradford
Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner
 
Paula A. DeSutter
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance
 
Ambassador Eric Edelman
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
 
Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr. (Ret.)
Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
 
Victor Gilinsky
Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner
 
Ambassador Robert G. Joseph
Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
 
Jodi Lieberman
Senior Government Relations Specialist, American Physical Society
 
Matthew McKinzie
Director, Nuclear Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
 
Gary Milhollin
President of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control
 
Kingston Reif
Director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
 
Henry S. Rowen
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
 
Henry D. Sokolski
Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
 
Ambassador Mark Wallace
Chief Executive Officer of United Against Nuclear Iran
 
Leonard Weiss
Former Staff Director for Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
 
Dov S. Zakheim
Former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
 
Robert Zarate
Policy Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative 
 

 

The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
Feedback
1600 Wilson Blvd. | Suite 1400 | Arlington, VA 22209 | phone: 571-970-3187 | webmaster@npolicy.org