News

USIS Washington 
File



04 October 1999

 
  

Text: Energy's Richardson on U.S.-Russia Nuclear Safety Partnership

(Warns against discarding fruits of recent progress)  (890)

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson praised the partnership between the
U.S. and Russia in reducing nuclear threats and said that "now is not
the time to discard the progress that has been made in the last few
years."

Richardson's remarks came at the end of a trip to Russia October 2 and
were issued in a press release.

He cited examples of what has been done and what can be done with
continued efforts on the part of both countries in five key areas:
stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and materials; reducing the
nuclear arsenal; employment transition for nuclear scientists;
promoting nuclear safety and security, and energy development.

"I will go back to the United States with a strong message about the
importance of the relationship between our two countries," Richardson
said. "It is in the interest of both of our nations to continue to
build on the growing foundation of trust and cooperation for a more
peaceful and secure world."

Following is the text of the press release:

(begin text)

U.S. Department of Energy
Washington, D.C.
October 2, 1999 

RICHARDSON ADVANCES U.S. - RUSSIA PARTNERSHIP BUT SAYS MORE CAN BE
DONE TO ENSURE PEACE AND SAFETY

As he concluded his trip to Russia, U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill
Richardson today stressed the importance of the relationship between
the United States and Russia and said he wants to expand joint efforts
to prevent the theft of nuclear weapons materials. Richardson's
Russian counterpart Yevgeniy Adamov, Minister of Atomic Energy joined
him at some of the stops of the four cities he visited.

"American policies toward Russia have been focused on building grass
roots links to aid in the transition toward democracy and a
market-based economy, and that is exactly the strategy we have used in
Russia's nuclear cities and the weapons complex," Secretary Richardson
said.

"While there is a great deal of work ahead, now is not the time to
discard the progress that has been made in the last few years."
Richardson pointed to concrete examples of what has been done and what
can be done with continued efforts on the part of both countries in
five key areas.

Stopping the Spread of Nuclear Weapons and Materials

Richardson toured a storage site in Murmansk which houses Russian
nuclear Naval vessels' fuel that had been vulnerable to attack. He saw
first-hand an upgraded security system to protect nuclear fuel
developed under the Material Protection Control and Accounting
Program. Fresh nuclear fuel used by the Russian Northern Fleet will be
consolidated at the site so it can be secured against insider and
outsider theft.

Reducing the Nuclear Arsenal

Reviewing novel techniques for disposal of excess weapons-grade
plutonium highlighted Richardson's trip to the Research Institute for
Atomic Reactors (RIAR) in Dmitrovgrad. The Department of Energy (DOE)
provided support for the work, which accelerates the disposal of
plutonium. RIAR has recently upgraded security at its storage vaults
and computer tracking capability of nuclear materials on-site.

Employment Transition for Nuclear Scientists

Visiting the closed and formerly secret "nuclear city" of Sarov,
Richardson turned his attention to the need to help former
highly-skilled nuclear scientists transfer their skills to non-nuclear
weapons enterprises. The Sarov Open Computing Center will help match
the superb technical skills of the scientists with the worldwide
demand for computer software programming and modeling and
computer-assisted engineering and design. Also in Sarov, Richardson
announced that the closed nuclear cities of Sarov, Snezhinsk and
Zheleznogorsk will benefit from a partnership with the European Bank
for Reconstruction and Development. The partnership will help create
commercial jobs and non-weapons industries within the nuclear cities
through the bank's highly successful Small Business Loan Program.

Promoting Nuclear Safety and Security 

Through a live interactive link with the DOE headquarters' Emergency
Operations Center, Richardson opened the MinAtom Situation and Crisis
Center in Moscow. The real-time MinAtom Center will allow experts from
both countries to have direct communication in times of nuclear or
environmental emergency such as nuclear accidents, the accidental
release of radioactive materials or the theft or diversion of nuclear
materials. Drawing on extensive experience and expertise and signaling
a growing trust, cooperation and respect between their countries,
Richardson joined Adamov in immediately extending an offer of
assistance for the Tokaimura, Japan, nuclear accident.

Energy Development

Russia's oldest and largest hospital, the Moscow Medical Academy, will
soon have lower energy bills and more efficient energy practices
following Richardson's announcement of a joint project between DOE and
the United Nations Foundation. Energy audits have shown that the
energy costs incurred by some Russian hospitals amount to 40 percent
of their operating expenses. Also in Moscow, Richardson signed a joint
statement calling for increased cooperation between coal technology
experts in the two countries to introduce the benefits of
energy-efficient, clean coal technology to the Russian coal industry.
"I will go back to the United States with a strong message about the
importance of the relationship between our two countries," Richardson
said. "It is in the interest of both of our nations to continue to
build on the growing foundation of trust and cooperation for a more
peaceful and secure world."

(end text)