WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- A decision by Washington and Moscow to pursue a joint effort in uranium enrichment for nuclear power bodes well for the energy source, a nuclear official said.
The international community is re-examining policies in the nuclear power sector after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan sparked safety concerns. Radiation levels are reportedly increasing in Japanese water and food supplies and U.S. companies announced recently they were scaling down ambitions for new nuclear power plants.
Russian state-run nuclear company Rosatom said, however, that it was working through a joint venture in the United States to enrich uranium.
Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of the Russian nuclear company, was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying concrete plans in the United States were still a ways away but the move suggested a bright future for nuclear energy.
"When two states, leaders of the global nuclear market, sign a long-term deal in such a situation, this gives a certain answer about the future development of the global nuclear energy sector," he said.
Rosatom subsidiary Techsnabexport signed a 10-year supply contract for low enriched uranium with USEC Inc. in Maryland
"The new contract will provide USEC with continued access to Russian enriched uranium, which currently constitutes about one-half of USEC's supply source," the American company said in a statement.
Work outlined in the contract starts in 2013.