WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the House of Representatives passed, H.R. 5681, important legislation extending the 1958 U.S.-U.K Mutual Defense Agreement to allow continued bilateral nuclear security cooperation. The 1958 “Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (U.K.) for Cooperation on the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defense Purposes” has governed U.S. nuclear security cooperation with the U.K. for more than 50 years. The agreement is renewed every 10 years, and the current cycle will expire on December 31, 2014.

H.R. 5681, introduced last week by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), extends the Agreement for 10 years.

Upon House passage of the legislation, Chairman Royce said: “This legislation ensures that a vital aspect of our cooperation with the United Kingdom continues uninterrupted. The United States has no closer ally. Our nations are founded on a shared belief in freedom and universal human rights. The 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement, a key element to our unmatched ‘special relationship,’ enables the exchange of nuclear materials, technology, and information and has been renewed many times since its signing in 1958. Passing this legislation and renewing the Agreement, uninterrupted, for another decade demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the United Kingdom, a close partner and enduring ally.”

Ranking Member Engel said: “The Mutual Defense Agreement between the United States and the U.K. has underpinned our cooperation on nuclear security issues for more than half a century. But without Congressional action, this agreement will lapse at the end of the year. By passing this legislation, we’re ensuring continued collaboration with our British allies on this critical issue, we’re enhancing the security of both our countries, and we’re shoring up the ‘Special Relationship’ for years to come.”

H.R. 5681:

• enables the exchange of nuclear information, hardware, and material between the United States and United Kingdom governments;

• updates existing policies regarding the training of nuclear personnel and personnel security;

• improves cooperation on nuclear threat reduction efforts;

• provides for the joint evaluation of potential enemy nuclear threats and capabilities;

• allows for the cooperative development of mutual nuclear defense plans;

• promotes bilateral research, development, and design of nuclear technologies;

• adopts routine changes to legacy language in the original agreement.