|For Immediate Release||September 1, 1998|
Progress in nuclear arms control has allowed the U.S. and Russia to reducegreatly the number of nuclear weapons in their arsenals. PresidentsClinton and Yeltsin today took a major step forward to ensure that thesereductions are permanent and irreversible. They agreed today on theconcrete steps to ensure that plutonium recovered from dismantled weaponswill not find its way into the hands of terrorists or third countriesseeking to build nuclear arms.
The U.S. and Russia each pledged to remove from their weapons programs some50 metric tons of plutonium each -- enough to make thousands of weapons --so that it can never be used again in nuclear weapons. The Presidentsagreed on principles to guide implementation of this conversion by buildingindustrial-scale facilities in both countries.
The disposition of the plutonium will be carried out either by consumingthe plutonium as fuel in existing civil nuclear reactors or through mixingthe plutonium with high-level radioactive waste and storing it in along-term spent fuel repository. Appropriate transparency andinternational verification measures will apply to this program, as willstringent standards of safety, environmental protection, and materialprotection, control and accounting.
This program will build on the Agreement on Scientific and TechnicalCooperation in the Management of Plutonium signed by Vice President Goreand then Prime Minister Kiriyenko in July, as well as extensive ongoingcooperative research involving laboratories and scientists in bothcountries.
U.S.-Russian cooperation on plutonium disposition will be carried out inclose cooperation and coordination with parallel efforts involving Russiaand other G-8 countries. The Presidents directed their experts to initiatenegotiations to transform these agreed principles into bilateral agreementthat will lay out the concrete steps for plutonium disposition and governtheir future cooperation in this area. President Clinton and PresidentYeltsin agreed to begin negotiations for this bilateral agreement promptly,with the intention of completing the agreement by the end of the year.
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Plutonium Disposition Statement