New agreements on Pu, HEU & liability

30 June 1998

A tripartite intergovernment agreement aimed at reducing the stocks of fissionable materials released as a result of dismantling Russian nuclear weapons has been signed at Russia’s Ministry of Nuclear Energy (MINATOM) by Minister Yevgeny Adamov, the German Ambassador to Russia Ernst-Jorg von Studnitz and French Ambassador Hubert Colan de Verdierre. Adamov noted that the plutonium is sufficient to supply Russia with electric power for more than a decade.

Subsequently, during Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s visit to Bonn, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and Adamov signed two agreements on trade in nuclear materials. One covers the supply by Russia of 1.2 t of HEU for the FRM 2 research reactor under construction in Garching. The second limits Germany firms’ liability in the event of a nuclear accident at Russian plants where they are working. The contract for the HEU supply will be signed in the autumn, according to Albert Shishkin, chief of Tekhsnabexport. He said it would take two or three months to draft the contract which will go to the firm which makes the best offer.

Agreement in principle on HEU feed Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy, along with several other Russian ministries, has signed an agreement in principle with Cameco, Cogema and Nukem for the purchase of HEU feed. While the deal is not yet finalised, the agreement is said to be strongly supported by the Canadian, US and Russian governments.

It is generally believed that the new agreement is similar to previous arrangements, with sizeable quantities of feed expected to be returned to Russia. It is also thought that the parties have agreed that the material be sold through Techsnabexport rather than Global Nuclear Services and Supply (GNSS) as previously suggested.

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