US Helps Russia to Close Two Plutonium-Producing Reactors

The US is giving Russia several hundred million dollars to close two plutonium-producing reactors in the town of Seversk (Tomsk Region) and one reactor in Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk Region). According to Rosbalt's correspondent, this was announced yesterday during a meeting with journalists by Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev. The minister said that an agreement to this effect was signed by the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry and the US Energy Ministry on March 11, 2003 at the International Conference on Security of Radioactive Sources held in Vienna.

The minister said that closing these reactors would reduce the amount of heat generated for the municipal heating systems in these regions. However, Rumyantsev underlined that the agreement envisages reconstructing a heat and power plan in Seversk and completing work on a heat and power plant in Zheleznogorsk. These plants will ensure that the regions do not experience a shortage of energy. According to the Atomic Energy Minister, the nuclear reactors in Seversk and Zheleznogorsk will be closed between 2005 and 2010.