Jeffrey LewisAbraham on U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation

Can I get some more of those little boiled peanuts?

Speaking to Tsinghua University on December 17, outgoing Secretary of Energy Spencer Araham said … well, let’s dwell on what he didn’t say.

He didn’t say that the US-Chinese Laboratory-to-Laboratory Technical Exchange Program, suspended in the wake of the Cox Report, was “both beneficial and legal.”

Those were, I am told, the magic words that would have restarted exchanges between the two countries nuclear programs. He may have said those words in private, but one reader pointed out that cooperation on coal received about five times the text as nuclear cooperation, which had a grand total of two lines.

Xinhua soldiered bravely on, reporting that a senior U.S. official had said in October that the U.S. Government would likely approve sale of a Westinghouse nuclear reactor to China.

If you want to know more about the lab-to-lab program, I highly recommend:

  • Nancy Prindle, “US-Chinese Lab-to-Lab Technical Exchange
    The Nonproliferation Review 5:3 (Spring-Summer 1998).

  • Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman, A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the Politics of Nuclear Espionage, Simon and Schuster 2002 (buy it). For the time-challenged, Peef Panofsky had a nice summary in American Scientist.