The United States and Russia are continuing work on a number of projects aimed at reducing the threat posed by nuclear materials, the U.S. Energy Department announced last week (see GSN, Dec. 10).
Eleven continuing or planned operations were cited in a joint statement issued following the third meeting of the bilateral Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group on Dec. 6 and 7.
Among the listed projects were:
-- Finishing deployment of nuclear security technology at a rail transfer platform at the Mining and Chemical Combine at Zheleznogorsk in the Krasnoyarsk Oblast.
-- Ongoing repatriation of Russian nuclear fuel from Belarus, Germany and Ukraine, and similar activities for U.S. fuel from Mexico and South Africa;
-- Finalizing fielding of fixed radiation detectors at each Russian border installation that is set to receive the systems; and
-- Initiating studies on converting six Russian research reactors that use weapons-capable highly enriched uranium to using low-enriched material instead (see GSN, Dec. 7).
Officials also noted security milestones that were reached between the second and third working group meetings, including shuttering of Russian's sole remaining weapon-grade plutonium production reactor and approval by the International Atomic Energy Agency governing board of two plans for nuclear fuel banks, one in Russia (see GSN, Dec. 6; U.S. Energy Department release, Dec. 10).