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U.S. Rushing Contracts with Egypt for Nuclear Reactor to Beat June 30 Fiscal Deadline

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A four-member Egyptian scientific group led by the bead of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Commission will arrive in Washington tomorrow to negotiate a contract with the United States for the acquisition of nuclear fuel, the State Department announced today. Department spokesman Robert Anderson said the contracts should be signed by June 30 “because of the long lead time to supply this fuel.”

He noted that June 30 is the end of the current fiscal year and that the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission regulations will create a delay of a year if it is signed after that date. Asked whether Israel will be able to obtain a similar contract by the end of this month, Anderson said the Israeli government has already been shown a draft contract. “We presume an Israeli team will be coming soon since they will have the same deadline,” Anderson said. No date for the Israeli arrival has been scheduled.

Anderson pointed out that the fuel contracts are contingent on bilateral agreements with stringent safeguards on cooperation for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. He added that until that bilateral agreement is concluded and submitted to Congress neither fuel nor reactors can be exported to Egypt. State Department sources pointed out that nuclear agreements with Egypt, Israel and other countries do not require the approval of Congress or even the Joint Congressional Committee for Atomic Energy. The agreement can go forward, they explained, if the committee does not dissent from them. However, Congress can, by resolution, bring about consideration of the agreement. (By Joseph Polakoff.)

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