Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate regarding the Agreement to Extend the Agreement for Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of South Africa Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

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Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate regarding the Agreement to Extend the Agreement for Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of South Africa Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

 Dear Madam Speaker: (Dear Madam President:)I am pleased to transmit to the Congress, pursuant to subsections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Atomic Ene

 Dear Madam Speaker: (Dear Madam President:)

I am pleased to transmit to the Congress, pursuant to subsections 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 an Agreement to Extend the Agreement for Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of South Africa Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (the “Agreement”).  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, 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 Secretaries of State and Energy and a letter from the Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stating the views of the Commission are also enclosed.  An addendum to the NPAS containing a comprehensive analysis of the export control system of the Republic of South Africa with respect to nuclear-related matters, including interactions with other countries of proliferation concern and the actual or suspected nuclear, dual-use, or missile-related transfers to such countries, pursuant to section 102A(w) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3024(w)), is being submitted separately by the Director of National Intelligence.

The Agreement has been negotiated in accordance with the Act and other applicable law, and will be executed once the Republic of South Africa completes its required domestic process authorizing such execution.  In my judgment, it meets all applicable statutory requirements and will advance the nonproliferation and other foreign policy interests of the United States of America.

The Agreement extends for 4 years the Agreement for Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of South Africa Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, done at Pretoria on August 25, 1995 (the “1995 Agreement”), which will expire by its terms on December 4, 2022.  The 1995 Agreement contains all of the provisions required by subsection 123 a. of the Act.  It provides a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation with the Republic of South Africa based on a mutual commitment to nuclear nonproliferation.  It permits the transfer of material, equipment (including reactors), components, and information for nuclear research and nuclear power production.  It does not permit the transfer of Restricted Data and does not permit the transfer of sensitive nuclear technology unless provided for by an amendment.  Low enriched uranium may be transferred for use as reactor fuel and in reactor experiments, and small quantities of special nuclear material, including plutonium and high enriched uranium, may be transferred for use as samples, standards, detectors, targets, and for such other purposes as the parties may agree.  Through the 1995 Agreement, the United States commits to endeavor to take necessary and feasible actions to ensure a reliable supply of nuclear fuel to the Republic of South Africa.

In the event of termination or expiration of the 1995 Agreement, key nonproliferation conditions and controls will continue in effect as long as any material, equipment, or components subject to the 1995 Agreement remain in the territory of the party concerned or under its jurisdiction or control anywhere, or until such time as the parties agree that such material, equipment, or components are no longer usable for any nuclear activity relevant from the point of view of safeguards.

The Republic of South Africa is an advocate for peaceful uses of nuclear technology and a global leader on disarmament issues.  Prior to joining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in July 1991, the Republic of South Africa possessed a fully developed nuclear weapons program.  Shortly after adhering to the NPT, Pretoria submitted an initial nuclear material inventory declaration to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which included all material from its then-dismantled nuclear weapons.  In March 1993, Pretoria publicly acknowledged the existence of its former nuclear weapons program (something it had not been legally required to do) and afterward cooperated with the IAEA to verify complete dismantlement.  The Republic of South Africa has in force a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol with the IAEA.  As a uranium producer and commercial nuclear energy generator, the Republic of South Africa is an active member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and continues to take international nuclear safety and security requirements into account in its own domestic nuclear policy.  A more detailed discussion of the Republic of South Africa’s domestic civil nuclear activities and its nuclear nonproliferation policies and practices is provided in the NPAS and its classified annex.

I have considered the views and recommendations of the interested departments and agencies in reviewing the Agreement and have determined that its performance will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security.  Accordingly, I have approved the Agreement and authorized its execution and urge that the Congress give it favorable consideration.

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

                               Sincerely,  

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.