USIS Washington 

02 September 1998


(US, Russia each agree to demilitarize 50 MT of plutonium) (390)

(The following Fact Sheet on Plutonium Disposition was issued by the
White House on September 2, 1998 in Moscow)

(begin White House Fact Sheet)


Office of the Press Secretary

(Moscow, Russia)

September 2, 1998


Plutonium Disposition Statement

Progress in nuclear arms control has allowed the US and Russia to
reduce greatly the number of nuclear weapons in their arsenals.
Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin today took a major step forward to
ensure that these reductions are permanent and irreversible. They
agreed today on the concrete steps to ensure that plutonium recovered
from dismantled weapons will not find its way into the hands of
terrorists or third countries seeking to build nuclear arms.

The US and Russia each pledged to remove from their weapons programs
some 50 metric tons of plutonium each -- enough to make thousands of
weapons -- so that it can never be used again in nuclear weapons. The
Presidents agreed on principles to guide implementation of this
conversion by building industrial-scale facilities in both countries.
The disposition of the plutonium will be carried out either by
consuming the plutonium as fuel in existing civil nuclear reactors or
through mixing the plutonium with high-level radioactive waste and
storing it in a long-term spent fuel repository. Appropriate
transparency and international verification measures will apply to
this program, as will stringent standards of safety, environmental
protection, and material protection, control and accounting.

This program will build on the Agreement on Scientific and Technical
Cooperation in the Management of Plutonium signed by Vice President
Gore and then Prime Minister Kiriyenko in July, as well as extensive
ongoing cooperative research involving laboratories and scientists in
both countries.

US-Russian cooperation on plutonium disposition will be carried out in
close cooperation and coordination with parallel efforts involving
Russia and other G-8 countries. The Presidents directed their experts
to initiate negotiations to transform these agreed principles into
bilateral agreement that will lay out the concrete steps for plutonium
disposition and govern their future cooperation in this area.
President Clinton and President Yeltsin agreed to begin negotiations
for this bilateral agreement promptly, with the intention of
completing the agreement by the end of this year.

(end White House Fact Sheet)