Former US Senator Sam Nunn has said the West must do more to address “nuclear insecurity” in Russia. Speaking at the biannual World Association of Nuclear Operators’ meeting in Victoria, British Colombia, Canada, he said joint ventures to buy more Russian surplus plutonium and highly enriched uranium should be encouraged.
“The nuclear insecurity problems in the former Soviet Union can only be successfully addressed with a true spirit of partnership among Russia and other former Soviet states, the United States and other leading nuclear nations,” he said. “The US and the international community must co-operate with Russia in its efforts to reduce the size of its nuclear complex through dismantling, conversion or commercialisation of facilities.
“Additional purchases [of plutonium and HEU] should be a top priority, with proceeds going into an auditable fund to help Russia pay for and improve its safe and secure handling of nuclear, chemical and biological materials and weapons.” Nunn also spoke about Russia’s minister for atomic energy Yevgeny Adamov’s proposal for an international waste repository in his country (see NEI, July, p23) and suggested the United States should consider a similar proposal.
“The leading nuclear nations should seriously explore the establishment of an international facility for the storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel, possibly in Russia, or possibly in the United States, or elsewhere,” he said.