However, if the president has released a country from one of the requirements specifically provided for by the Nuclear Energy Act, the agreement can be better interpreted as a former executive agreement of Congress, according to which Congress must, by a joint resolution, approve such an agreement 123 for it to enter into force. A 123 agreement is an agreement between Congress and the Executive that provides the general legal framework for civil nuclear cooperation with a foreign country, including the export of nuclear reactors, critical reactor components and nuclear fuels. Kudrik said that, overall, Agreement 123 would only promote cooperation between the U.S. and Russian nuclear industries, a cooperation that had already been in place before 123 came into force. The term “gold standard” was coined at the end of the George W. Bush administration, when the agreement between the United States and the United Arab Emirates was signed in January 2009, and it was declared a new standard for nuclear cooperation agreements, although several subsequent agreements did not maintain the complementary standard under the Obama administration. A 2011 letter from the Obama administration to Capitol Hill abandoned a one-time approach to 123 agreements and advocated a case-by-case approach in future negotiations. (See ACT, March 2012). The Trump administration has made its position on the gold standard even less clear. This has been particularly common in the ongoing negotiations on an agreement with Saudi Arabia 123. In addition to the specific nuclear safety measures required by the statute, Section 123 requires that nine non-proliferation conditions be met before an agreement can be signed.
In particular, the cooperating party must agree to submit all nuclear materials and equipment put in place under certain security conditions that include IAEA safeguards where the country is a non-nuclear-weapon state. The host state must ensure the physical safety of all nuclear materials, ensure that it does not use nuclear explosives testing or other military purposes, that no nuclear material from the United States is enriched or processed, and must ensure that it does not transmit it without authorization to unauthorized persons or outside their jurisdictional control. In addition, the United States reserves the right to demand the return of any nuclear technology from a non-nuclear weapon state in the event of unauthorized military nuclear work or the lifting of IAEA safeguards.