Dismantlement of decommissioned Russian nuclear-powered submarines and ships (Agreement on Cooperation in the Elimination of Strategic Offensive Arms (SOAE), 1993)

Conversion of plutonium-production reactors in Russia (U.S.-Russian Plutonium Production Reactor Agreement (PPRA) of 199715)

Disposition of surplus weapons-grade plutonium, which is no longer needed for defense purposes in the U.S. and Russia (Agreements of 1998 and 2000)

  1. The present-day technologies of using nuclear power for peaceful purposes (including the nuclear power industry, research reactors, and power reactor facilities of nuclear submarines and surface vessels) have the following peculiarities: most of the associated nuclear fuel cycle stages are potentially vulnerable (to a variable degree) from the viewpoint of nonproliferation of nuclear materials, which could be used to fabricate nuclear weapons. These are:

    Uranium enrichment

    Nuclear fuel fabrication

    Power generation

    Interim storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) prior to its ultimate disposal or reprocessing

    SNF reprocessing with extraction of power-grade plutonium

    Storage of extracted plutonium

    Shipping of fresh or spent nuclear fuel.

So far this vulnerability has been compensated to a considerable extent by the IAEA international safeguards system and by a set of safeguards arrangements and activities at the national and regional levels.


Unfortunately, the current IAEA safeguards are mainly based on inspections, which, in case of a global growth of nuclear power, may become ineffective and excessively expensive. To ensure long-term sustainable development of the world community, nuclear power in the future will have to resolve the problem related to the risk of indirect nuclear proliferation (i.e., due to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes) by the development and large-scale deployment of advanced and innovative nuclear energy technologies capable of ensuring proliferation resistance by an optimum combination of predominantly intrinsic features (technologies and materials) and extrinsic measures (IAEA safeguards, nuclear material protection, control and accounting, export control). When considering extrinsic measures (i.e., IAEA safeguards), use of permanent instrumental monitoring systems to eliminate unauthorized modifications in reactors or fuel cycle facilities will be, evidently, necessary as well.


In this context the following initiatives and related opportunities deem important:

  • Bilateral U.S.-Russian cooperation on advanced nuclear reactors and fuel cycles (Moscow Summit of the U.S. and Russian Presidents in May, 2002), and

15  

The 1994 Agreement has not been ratified, and therefore has not come into effect. Presently the 1997 Agreement is in force.



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