Russia uses the BOR-60 to test fast reactor technology. Unlike today's reactors, which slow down neutrons, fast reactors allow them to run fast. They leave much less waste and can potentially breed new fuel. Critics say they are dangerous.
The agreement, signed by Moniz, also proposes a joint research center called the Multi-Purpose Fast Research Reactor International Research Center.
The U.S. curtailed its own fast reactor program in 1994, when President Bill Clinton shut down the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR II) at what was then called Argonne National Laboratory-West (now Idaho National Laboratory).
The U.S.-Russian nuclear agreement spans areas beyond nuclear power. It includes the development of nuclear technology to help bust up asteroids that threaten to slam into Earth. Moniz noted:
“This Agreement supports President Obama’s nonproliferation and climate priorities by providing a venue for scientific collaboration and relationship-building between the U.S. and Russian research and technical communities. Jointly, these communities will work to further develop advanced technologies that can address some of our most pressing nuclear energy and nuclear security challenges.”
The DOE press release described the two countries as "equal partners...with each country bearing its own costs."