President Obama’s schedule May 11, 2015 included a notification to Congress about a nuclear cooperation agreement with China. The deal, if renewed, would allow China to buy and use the U.S.-made reactor coolant technology that reduces the noise made by submarines, which makes them easily detectable. The White House’s interest in pursuing the deal will pave the pathway for American companies to sell nuclear reactors in China.
The agreement for a nuclear accord between the two super powers will be a renewed version of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and is timed at a crucial stage when President Obama is attempting to gain support for restricting Iran’s nuclear program.
The White House’s interest in signing the deal with China demonstrates change, and the growth of the relationship between the two powerful nations known for mutual suspicion and rivalry. The two nations are now aware of their potential of forging a powerful economic and strategic partnership.
The argument and concerns against the partnership is about China building what seems to be a nuclear base on the (disputed) reefs in the South China Sea. China stands apart from the other nations that have agreements for peaceful use of nuclear power. It is reported to own approximately 250 nuclear warheads. The U.S.’s concern is about China selling missiles with nuclear capabilities to other countries.
The ongoing agreement expires at the end of 2015 and Congress has to be given 90 days for the legislation of the deal. There are two possibilities that could result: Congress could reject the deal or, if no such action is taken, the agreement will be operational. The agreement would bring China into the mainstream and help the economy to better understand its programs. The agreement is expected to improve the strategic commercial partnership between the U.S. and China.