Russian Nuclear Deal On Hold

MOSCOW — A key civil nuclear agreement between Russia and the U.S. is likely to be shelved until next year at the earliest, amid mounting tensions over the fate of Georgia’s breakaway republics.

The pact set the framework to give the U.S. access to state-of-the-art Russian nuclear technologies, while helping Russia establish an international nuclear fuel storage facility for spent fuel. Russia cannot achieve that goal without the deal, since the U.S. controls the vast majority of the world’s nuclear fuel.

The Bush administration submitted the bill to Congress in May, with hopes it would be passed into law by September. But both U.S. and Russian officials say that now looks unlikely.

A Russian government official says Moscow had received a friendly hint that the bill would be recalled. He says the Russians expect it to be resubmitted by the next U.S. president.