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$1.2 million committed to destroy Weapons

$1.2 million committed to destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction

New Zealand has committed $500,000 to a US-led project to shut down one of Russia's last remaining plutonium producing nuclear reactors at Zheleznogorsk, and replace it with a fossil fuel plant," says Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Goff.

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Pictured: Entrance to secret nuclear facilities inside mountain at Zheleznogorsk/Krasnoyarsk-26. Scoop editor's note: click image for CIA background to the facility
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"New Zealand will sign a Memorandum of Understanding this Monday (26 June) with the US Department of Energy about shutting down the Zheleznogorsk reactor.

"This funding is in addition to the $700,000 New Zealand has already committed this financial year towards a UK-led project to destroy chemical weapons at Shchuch'ye in Russia.

"The reactor at Zheleznogorsk is an old reactor which produces enough plutonium as a by-product to create one nuclear weapon a week. It poses a clear proliferation risk.

"The reactor is also unsafe. According to one expert, the Chernobyl reactor was an improvement on this model!

"The reactor will be replaced by a fossil fuel plant, and our contribution will be directed specifically at ensuring that the new plant meets the highest possible environmental standards.

"The $1.2 million spent this year is part of our contribution to the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. It is tangible evidence of our support for multilateral work for disarmament and against proliferation.

"This contribution is on top of the $1.2 million New Zealand has committed in earlier years to destroying chemical weapons of mass destruction in Russia," Mr Goff said.

Ends

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