"That's a ways down the road," US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton said in an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the annual summit of seven major industrialized nations plus Russia, the G8.
But "when the day comes when there is a representative government, and the (UN) Security Council says that, in fact, Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction, a really transformed Iraq, there's no reason, it seems to me, unlike some other countries, there's no reason why you couldn't contemplate a civilian nuclear power program," he said.
Bolton's comments came as he explained that the United States is in "a race against time" to find new jobs for some 400-500 weapons scientists left idle by Saddam Hussein's ouster in the US-led March 2003 invasion.
"People are going to have to be creative to make sure that these people have something to do," the diplomat said.
Although US-led troops have not found any of the weapons of mass destruction at the core of the case for war, Washington worries that Iraqi scientists who once worked on Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear programs might be hired off by terrorists or so-called rogue states.