World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


U.S. Russia Move Toward Closing Plutonium Reactors

U.S. Russia Take "Major Step" Toward Closing Plutonium Reactors

U.S.-Russia complete negotiations for preliminary power plant designs

The United States and Russia have taken a "major step" towards closing three Russian weapons-grade plutonium production reactors in Seversk and Zheleznogorsk with the signing of two contracts to build replacement fossil-fuel power plants in Siberia, according to a September 29 Department of Energy press release.

Two U.S. firms, Washington Group International and Raytheon Technical Services, have completed negotiations with Rosatomstroi, a Russian investment and construction company, for preliminary designs of projects to refurbish and construct the fossil-fuel power plants. Once these plants are completed, the plutonium reactors can be shut down.

Following is a DOE press release:

(begin text)

U.S. Department of Energy
Washington, D.C.
September 29, 2003


Contracts Signed for Fossil-Fuel Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The United States and Russia have taken another major step toward closing down the last three remaining Russian reactors producing weapons-grade plutonium with the signing of two contracts for fossil-fuel power plants to be built and refurbished in Siberia.

The two U.S. companies under contract, Washington Group International and Raytheon Technical Services, will carry out this work at the two sites, which will begin in Fiscal Year 2004. The companies have completed negotiations with Rosatomstroi, a Russian investment and construction company, for preliminary designs of projects to refurbish and construct fossil-fuel power plants in Seversk and Zheleznogorsk. When the refurbishment and construction have been completed, operation of the plants will permit the shut down of the plutonium production reactors.

This agreement represents another major step in the U.S.-Russia Elimination of Weapons-Grade Plutonium Production Program (EWGPP) initiated by U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Alexandr Rumyantsev.

"The administration places a high priority on successful nonproliferation programs, and elimination of weapons-grade plutonium production in Russia is an important step in our joint nonproliferation program," Secretary Abraham said. "Our two countries have made good progress towards nonproliferation goals, and we look forward to continuing our good work and progress through successful ventures like this."

The three Russian reactors not only produce significant amounts of weapons-grade plutonium daily, they also provide heat and electricity to several hundred thousand Russians in the traditionally closed cities of Seversk and Zheleznogorsk. These reactors have deficiencies in the areas of design, equipment, and materials, and are considered to be among the highest risk reactors in the world. To ensure reactor safety, high priority safety upgrades are being expeditiously pursued with the help of the Department of Energy (DOE).

At a ceremony in Vienna in March 2003, Secretary Abraham and Minister Rumyantsev signed the agreement that would reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction by stopping plutonium production at the last three Russian plutonium production reactors. In May 2003, Abraham and the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Yuri Ushakov, announced that $466 million was awarded to two U.S. companies to begin the shutdown work.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>


Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>



Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC