WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman and Sergey Kiriyenko, the director of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, have signed a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to dispose of 34 metric tons of excess weapon-grade plutonium by irradiation in nuclear reactors.
"This statement is a clear sign of our mutual commitment to keeping dangerous nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists. We look forward to working together with the Russians to ensure that this important nonproliferation project moves forward in both Russia and the United States," Secretary Bodman said.
The statement notes Russian plans to begin early disposition of plutonium using a BN-600 fast reactor in 2010-2012. The United States plans to begin construction this fall of a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility in South Carolina to prepare U.S. plutonium for use in nuclear power plants.
"By signing this statement the Russian Federation is showing that it remains committed to the 2000 agreement to dispose of excess weapon-grade plutonium," said Linton F. Brooks, head of DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration. "We have put in place a procedure for addressing remaining technical issues in the Russian program. We will continue to work with the Russians to ensure that this important nonproliferation project moves forward in both countries."
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