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Russia, U.S. sign 5-bln-dollar uranium deal
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08:30, February 03, 2008

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Russia has signed a trade deal to increase its enriched uranium exports to the United States, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Saturday.

Sergei Kiriyenko, director of Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom, paid a one-day working visit to the United States Friday, meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez in Washington.

"The deal is worth 5 to 6 billion U.S. dollars over the next 10years," said Kiriyenko, after signing the document with Gutierrez.

The deal allows direct sales of Russian enriched uranium to U.S. utilities. Previously, such direct transactions were not permitted.

"The agreement will encourage bilateral trade in Russian uranium products for peaceful purposes. It will also help to ensure that U.S. utilities have an adequate source of enriched uranium for U.S. utility consumers," Gutierrez said.

Last September, the United States Court of International Trade lifted discriminatory and anti-dumping restrictions on Russian low-enriched uranium (LEU) supplies, ordering the U.S. Department of Commerce within 60 days to cancel a 112-percent duty on Russian low-enriched uranium used by some 50 percent of U.S. nuclear power plants.

Russia currently exports uranium to the United States duty freevia the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), a special intermediary agent, under a conversion program called HEU-LEU.

The HEU-LEU contract, also known as the Megatons to Megawatts agreement, was signed in February 1993 and expires in 2013.

It aims to convert 500 metric tons of high-enriched uranium (HEU), the equivalent of approximately 20,000 nuclear warheads, from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons into low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is then converted into nuclear fuel for use in U.S. commercial reactors.

Source: Xinhua

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