A joint European Union-Russia report on energy trading has identified obstacles preventing further development of their mutual trade in nuclear materials.

The EU-Russia energy dialogue thematic group paper said the main hurdles to EU sales into Russia, which are currently very small, “are the existence of unfair market conditions and of barriers to access the Russian market, for instance in…taxation, licensing and certification of equipment and customs.” There are also problems regarding coverage for nuclear liability after an accident, with the EU calling on Russia to accede to the 1997 protocol to the [1963] Vienna convention and “adopt the necessary domestic legislation and establish insurance pools.”

On the other side, the Russians note the Euratom Supply Agency’s demand of advance approval of contracts for supplying uranium to the EU, with the report concluding the agency’s controls “has a restrictive effect on potential buyers and reduces the competitive positions of the Russian uranium products in the market.” This is because the agency seeks to avoid “an excessive user reliance on a single source of supplies,” a position sparking a conservative policy regarding Russian exports, especially since the accession to the EU of eight eastern European states in 2004, which have traditionally sourced most of their nuclear materials from Russia.

The full report may be found at http://ec.europa.eu/energy/russia/reference_texts/doc/2006_10_trade_en.pdf