Expert group from US Department of Energy inspects nuclear production plant near Krasnoyarsk

Another five experts from the US Department of Energy have started inspecting the mining and chemical plant located in the restricted town of Zheleznogorsk in the nearby Krasnoyarsk.

Experts will inspect the plant's schemes to register, control and secure the nuclear materials stockpiled there.

Pavel Morozov, the head of the facility's PR department, said on Tuesday that "this is a routine inspection," which would be held in compliance with a Russo-American intergovernmental agreement signed in October 1999 on the monitoring of weapons-grade plutonium production at the plant.

The thing is that the Americans are no longer producing weapons-grade plutonium, while the Siberian facility cannot but produce it because the facility's reactor is simultaneously supplying heat and electricity to the 100,000-population town. Another two reactors were shut down in the 1990s, the last one will be closed in 2006, when an alternative power source for Zheleznogorsk is constructed.

The Russian side in conjunction with the Americans, who will also cover part of the expenses, are creating a joint command centre, which will replace separate posts monitoring nuclear storage facilities. In addition, it has been decided to equip the plant with a special radio cable, which will improve communication within the plant whose facilities are located deep under ground, which hampers the use of regular radio communication systems.

The Americans are expected to leave the Russian production plant on August 10th.

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