The Russian-American intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in taking to Russia fuel from Russian-designed research reactors has been inked in Moscow.
Alexander Rumyantsev, head of Russia's Federal Nuclear Energy Agency, and the United States Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham have left their signatures.
At the news conferences after the signing ceremony, Rumyantsev said that research reactors according to the Russian design had earlier been built in some countries. Now 17 of them have Russian-designed research reactors in use.
Abraham said that, in keeping with the agreement signed, highly enriched nuclear fuel of Russian origin fit for the production of nuclear weapons will, by late 2005, return to Russia to be processed.
After that, work-fit research reactors will be updated for using uranium with a smaller degree of enrichment, Abraham said. By 2010, it is supposed to return to Russia and reprocess wasted nuclear fuel from research reactors.
Abraham noted that the United States is concerned over the problem of return of American-made highly enriched uranium. We plan to have wasted fuel back in the United States within ten years, he said. The total cost of the American programme to return American and Russian nuclear fuel, as well as to convert the reactors, is 450 million dollars.
The United States and Russia are working jointly to reduce the nuclear threat. This agreement will cut the threat of terrorism and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, Abraham said.