An agreement concerning the disposition of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) from the dismantlement of nuclear weapons in Russia has been initialed by Major General (Retired) William F. Burns, representing the United States of America, and Deputy Minister of Atomic Energy Nikolai Yegerov, representing the Russian Federation. The agreement requires formal approval by both governments, after which it will be signed and entered into effect.
The agreement is in two parts. The first part establishes the parties' objectives. It commits them to cooperate in the conversion, as soon as practicable, of the HEU resulting from dismantlement of nuclear weapons in Russian into low-enriched uranium(LEU) for use as commercial reactor fuel. It also calls on the parties to establish appropriate measures to ensure that this transaction is executed in a manner consistent with all applicable nonproliferation, physical security, material accounting and control, and environmental requirements.
The second part of the agreement commits the parties to seek to enter into an implementing contract within twelve months to accomplish the objectives set forth in the first part. The agreement specifies that the implementing contract will provide, among other things, for the following:
-- The purchase by the US Department of Energy of HEU for conversion in the United States to LEU and sale for commercial purposes;
-- The purchase by the US Department of Energy of LEU converted from HEU at facilities in Russia and the sale of such LEU for commercial purposes, if so agreed;
-- The participation of the US private sector; and
-- The use by the Russian Federation of a portion of the proceeds of HEU sales to upgrade the safety of nuclear reactors in the former Soviet Union.
-- The use by the Russian Federation, at its discretion, of a portion of any proceed from the sale of HEU to finance the construction and operation of facilities in Russia to convert HEU to LEU.
Implementation of the agreement will be budget neutral for the US Government on a year-by-year basis. Payment for purchase of HEU would come from savings in the Department of Energy's enrichment operations. Purchase of HEU from nuclear warheads dismantled in Russia would have no adverse impact on US consumers or jobs in the uranium mining or processing industries. The Department of Energy would use the HEU to reduce the electricity costs at its enrichment facilities, while continuing to operate at current employment levels and to process domestically-produced uranium. The agreement will not be funded under the Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction (Nunn-Lugar) Act of 1991.