Modernizing the systems of nuclear material protection, control and accounting at more than 25 Russian nuclear facilities
Building a storage facility in Chelyabinsk (Mayak) for surplus weapons-grade fissionable materials (due to open in 2004)
Planning construction of fossil-fueled power plants to replace the plutonium-production reactors at Seversk and Zheleznogorsk (previously Tomsk-7 and Krasnoyarsk-26, respectively)
The ability of the CTR agreement to expand and adapt in response to evolving circumstances was suggested by some workshop participants as one of the program’s strengths. Supplementary agreements have been used to broaden CTR’s role to include a wide range of bilateral interactions, such as safety improvements in the construction of a storage facility for surplus weapons-grade fissionable materials. The agreement has also been adapted successfully to address implementation problems and resolve disputes between the two sides.
The United States and Russia have agreements to work toward eliminating their stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium and HEU, which were produced in their weapons programs during the Cold War. Their work to dismantle the weapons stockpiles, both within and outside agreements such as START, has only increased the size of these fissile materials stockpiles. These stockpiles were not only generally seen as a proliferation risk, but were also regarded by some participants as a threat because they would facilitate any efforts on either side to re-arm in violation of START, SORT, or other disarmament agreements.
The Russian-U.S. HEU Agreement, it was argued, is possibly the most successful U.S.-Russian effort to collaborate on fissile material disposition. This agreement, signed in 1993, provides for 500 metric tons of Russian HEU to be blended down into LEU over the course of 20 years. After it becomes LEU, the material is shipped to the United States, where it is fabricated into fuel for commercial reactors. It was expected that, by the end of 2003, more than 200 metric tons of HEU—enough for 8,000 nuclear warheads—would have been diluted, and 6,000 metric tons of LEU shipped to the United States. This is equivalent to approximately half of the U.S. demand for nuclear fuel and generated up to 10% of the annual electricity production in the United States. As compensation, Russia was to receive about $4 billion in revenues by the end of 2003, which are to be spent to upgrade the safety level of the nuclear power industry, “convert nuclear cities,” and conduct research and development on advanced nuclear reactors and fuel cycles.9
One aspect of cooperation under the CTR umbrella is the dismantlement of Strategic Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBNs) built by the Soviet Union. This program operates under the SOAE, signed in August 1993 to provide a mechanism for expediting arms elimination in accordance with START I. SOAE is a major component of the CTR program.