Russian atomic chief heads for talks in Washington

Russia's atomic energy chief was heading to Washington Wednesday for talks on nuclear security and stopping the spread of nuclear materials, the Russian nuclear agency said.

Alexander Rumyantsev was expected to meet with U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, the Federal Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

The two officials were slated to meet under the auspices of the Russian-U.S. High-Confidence Group, a committee set up during the Slovakia summit in February at which presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin embraced new measures to combat nuclear terrorism and better safeguard atomic weapons arsenals.

Washington wants to increase security at Russian research facilities and other sites where radioactive materials are stored, but the effort has been stymied by disputes over contractors and funding and Moscow's wariness about U.S. access to sensitive sites.

Last month, during a trip to Moscow, Bodman said the two nations had made "good progress" in cooperating on nuclear security.

The U.S. secretary also said that the two countries were close to agreement on a program to use plutonium from nuclear weapons to make a fuel called MOX, which has been held up by a dispute over liability of American contractors.


On the photo: Alexander Rumyantsev

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