November 4, 1996

Amber Jones, 202/586-5806

International Teams Review Verification Measures at DOE Sites

The United States has joined with the Russian Federation and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a new initiative aimed at increasing the international verification of weapons-usable nuclear materials. The purpose of the initiative is to verify that fissile materials no longer needed for U.S. and Russian defense purposes are not reused to produce new nuclear weapons. As the first step in the initiative, representatives from Russia and the IAEA are visiting three Department of Energy sites this week.

The delegations are visiting Argonne National Laboratory - West in Idaho on November 4 for demonstrations of remote monitoring technology. They will visit the Hanford Site in Washington state on November 5 and the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site in Colorado on November 6-7. The visits to Hanford and Rocky Flats will focus on how IAEA inspections have been carried out at those sites to verify that excess plutonium at those sites is not reused for weapons.

Following the site visits, the Russian and IAEA delegations will travel to Washington, D.C., for meetings on November 8 with senior U.S. officials to discuss how to proceed in carrying out the trilateral initiative.

Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary, Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Viktor Mikhailov and IAEA Director General Hans Blix announced the trilateral initiative in September at the IAEA's 40th General Conference in Vienna, Austria. The initiative, which will result in a joint report by June 1997, advances the commitments made by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin to ensure the transparency of nuclear arms reductions and the control of fissile material removed from weapons.

- DOE -