* Nuclear deal allows wider cooperation, joint ventures
* Medvedev says it should be treated as "business"
* Russia says controls 20 pct of U.S. uranium reserves
* Long-stalled deal part of wider U.S.-Russia "reset"
(Adds Medvedev, Rosatom head quotes)
By Steve Gutterman
MOSCOW, Jan 11 A long-stalled civilian nuclear
cooperation agreement between Russia and the United States
entered into force on Tuesday in a milestone for the "reset" in
relations between the former Cold War foes.
The so-called 123 Agreement took effect with an exchange of
diplomatic notes between Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Ryabkov and U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle in a brief
ceremony in Moscow.
"This is really good work. It should not be politicized as
sometimes happened in the history of Russian-American relations,
but treated as business. Then we will achieve good results,"
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.
The agreement, signed in 2008 but shelved by the White House
amid acrimony over Russia's war with U.S. ally Georgia, was
revived by President Barack Obama as part of his campaign to
improve ties and bolster trade and security cooperation.
It creates a legal framework for closer cooperation between
the United States and Russia on civilian nuclear research,
production and trade, and both sides said it would help fight
nuclear weapons proliferation.
Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's nuclear power firm
Rosatom, told Medvedev after the signing that the United States
was "a key market" for Rosatom, which supplies over 40 percent
of U.S. nuclear fuel under a programme called 'Megatons to
Kiriyenko said in 2010 Rosatom struck contracts worth close
to $5 billion in excess of what was covered under the
20-year-old programme. Following the acquisition of miner
Uranium One UUU.TO, the Russian firm now controlled 20 percent
of U.S. deposits.
Beyrle said Russia and the United States could cooperate in
developing new reactors, fuels and other technology that would
lessen the risk that dangerous nuclear materials could fall into
the wrong hands.
The agreement will also help the nations implement a deal
signed last month calling for conversion of Russian research
reactors to the use of low-enriched uranium fuel instead of
high-enriched fuel that can be used to make weapons.
It permits the transfer -- subject to U.S. licensing
decisions -- of non-restricted technology, material and
equipment including reactors and components for nuclear research
and power production.
The deal will also allow nuclear energy joint ventures
between Russian and U.S. companies and could potentially give
Russia the right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel that originated
in the United States.
It comes into force amid expectations that Russian lawmakers
will soon vote to ratify New START, a strategic nuclear arms
limitation pact that is central to the "reset" and won approval
in the U.S. Senate last month.
The speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament said on
Tuesday that lawmakers were likely to vote their final approval
of the treaty by the end of January.
(Additional reporting by Gleb Bryanski)
(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Mark Trevelyan)