Plutonium disposal

27 August 1998

The Russian-US commission for economic and technological co-operation, still known as the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission, has drawn up an intergovernmental agreement for co-operation in research and technical efforts to dispose of plutonium recovered from nuclear weapons. The material will be processed into forms which render it unsuitable for military use. It will be either processed and immobilised or used to make MOX fuel. A joint co-ordination committee is to be set up. Any information or equipment exchanged in the course of implementing this agreement are not to be used for military purposes, such as research and development of nuclear explosive devices of whatever kind. Any American personnel or equipment involved in the programme will be exempt from Russian taxation and customs duties.

The agreement covers a period of five years with an option for renewal. The US also said it was willing to allocate up to $30 million to support the programme to convert Russian closed nuclear cities to civilian production.

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