THE WHITE HOUSE
the Press Secretary
United States - Russian
Federation Plutonium Disposition Agreement
and President Putin today announced that the United States and the Russian
Federation have completed a key arms control and nonproliferation agreement
providing for the safe, transparent and irreversible disposition of 68 metric
tons of weapons-grade plutonium -- enough plutonium to make thousands of
The United States and Russia have already agreed to
nuclear arms reductions that have led to the removal of weapons-grade plutonium
from their military programs. This new agreement details the goals, schedules,
monitoring principles and conditions for the irreversible disposition of that
Unlike weapons-grade uranium, which is being blended down
for use as nuclear power fuel both in the United States and in Russia,
plutonium cannot be blended with other materials to make it unusable in
weapons. Under the agreement, each Party must dispose of at least 34 metric
tons of weapons-grade plutonium by irradiating it as fuel in reactors or by
immobilizing it with high-level radioactive waste, rendering it suitable for
geologic disposal. The United States intends to use 25.5 tons as fuel and to
immobilize 8.5 tons; the Russian Federation intends to use 34 tons as fuel.
Both Russia and the United States will accelerate their work leading
toward construction of new industrial-scale facilities for conversion of the
plutonium and its fabrication into fuel. The Agreement requires each Party to
seek to begin operation of such industrial-scale facilities by 2007, to achieve
a disposition rate of at least 2 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium per
year and, working with other countries, to identify additional capacities at
least to double that disposition rate.
The agreement establishes
certain rights, obligations and principles for monitoring and inspecting the
disposition and the end products to ensure the plutonium can never again be
used for nuclear weapons or any other military purposes. The agreement bans
reprocessing of this plutonium until the entire 34 metric tons have been
disposed. After that, any reprocessing of this plutonium must be done under
effective, mutually agreed monitoring measures.
The agreement also
anticipates that any additional plutonium designated in the future as excess to
defense needs can be disposed under these same terms and conditions.
The Russian program is estimated to cost over $1.7 billion over twenty
years. The U.S. program, which includes immobilization facilities as well as
conversion and fuel fabrication facilities, is estimated to cost $4 billion.
The agreement recognizes the need for international financing and
assistance for the Russian Federation to fulfill the obligations of the
agreement. There is strong international support, particularly among G-8
nations, for the initiation and implementation of plutonium disposition. The
United States and the Russian Federation will work with other countries to
develop an international financing plan for the Russian program and
multilateral arrangements to integrate and coordinate this extensive
cooperation with Russia. This will be on the agenda for the G-8 Summit in
Okinawa in July.
The U.S. Congress has already appropriated $200
million for plutonium disposition in Russia, which will now be used for
pre-construction design work for industrial-scale facilities in Russia. Today's
agreement will also accelerate research, development and demonstrations under
the 1998 technical agreement for plutonium disposition between the United
States and Russian Federation.
The agreement is a critical,
indispensable step toward the goal of ensuring proper disposition of this
plutonium from weapons programs. Next steps include negotiating multilateral
cooperation arrangements, establishing international financing, and developing
plans to accelerate plutonium disposition.
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