US ambassador to Russia, James Collins, has cancelled a visit to the closed nuclear city of Krasnoyarsk-26. His decision is in response to Russian authorities barring him from bringing his science advisor and preventing him from seeing certain US-Russian projects on the site. Collins had been due to preside over the opening of a US-financed business centre.
US energy secretary Bill Richardson complained about Collins’ treatment to Russia’s atomic energy minister Yevgeny Adamov at a conference in Denver, provoking Adamov to leave the room.
Elsewhere in Russia co-operation with the US is continuing.
US and Russian officials have jointly opened the US-financed Security Assessment and Training Centre in Sergiev Posad, outside Moscow, set up to improve security at Russia’s nuclear weapons storage sites.
The centre will test security technologies, including a software tool for assessing vulnerability of nuclear weapons storage sites. It will also provide Russian guard forces with small arms training and support for the Ministry of Defence’s programme assessing the reliability of people guarding nuclear weapons.
The Pentagon has provided drug and alcohol field-testing kits and polygraph systems and training.
The Pentagon contributed $17 million to the project, which is part of a larger programme to provide equipment, services and training for security improvements at Russian sites. The Pentagon has spent $133 million on the programme.
MINATOM plans to stop assembling nuclear ammunition at two out of four operating plants. According to deputy nuclear minister Lev Ryabev, 40 000 workers will be made redundant during the conversion of the nuclear military industry.