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Introduction: From Assistance to Partnership

The U.S. National Academies and the Russian Academy of Sciences cooperated in 2003 to convene a workshop to examine impediments to U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation. This event resulted in a workshop report: Overcoming Impediments to U.S. Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Report of a Joint Workshop.1 The present study, performed by a joint committee established by the two academies,2 builds upon the previous effort and provides specific recommendations that represent the consensus of American and Russian committees both to eliminate current impediments and to chart a future course for even closer cooperation.

Since 1992, the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and State have worked with their counterparts in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union to develop and implement a number of joint nuclear nonproliferation initiatives, many of them under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) framework.3 This effort has significantly advanced the goals of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, particularly as it pertains to the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials stocks. These joint programs of the United States and the Russian Federation have enjoyed a number of important successes during the past several years. The high points of this cooperative effort have been the enhancement of security for nuclear storage facilities4; the commercial blenddown and sale of surplus Russian enriched uranium as power plant fuel; and the elimination of nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

This study acknowledges the important achievements to date. However, it also identifies a number of sometimes interrelated challenges to future cooperative efforts. Impediments to joint work have limited progress in the past and threaten to do so in the future. Some of these problems are the result of restrictive practices that flowed from the U.S. reaction to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and subsequent initiatives to combat international terrorism. Others are residual constraints not yet eliminated from the Cold War era. Still others involve legal issues, such as taxation and liability, managerial and organizational problems, project financing, and weaknesses in U.S.-Russian scientific and technical cooperation. Many of these challenges originate in legitimate concerns about national security matters in both countries and differences in perspectives on current international issues.

Many thorough and serious studies have reported on the continuing impediments to cooperation and the necessity of overcoming them to speed up joint work on securing fissile materials (such as uranium-235 and plutonium-239) and other critical tasks.5 Recognizing this very real problem, the joint U.S.-Russian committee responsible for this study sought answers that would be practical and that could be pursued either in Moscow or in Washington, wherever they would be most relevant. The fact that they are offered as consensus U.S. and Russian recommendations makes them unique and, it is hoped, powerful in both capitals. This report’s emphasis on solutions, however, in no way downplays the very real challenges that continue to obstruct the joint cooperation.

1  

National Research Council, Overcoming Impediments to U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Report of a Joint Workshop (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2004).

2  

Biographical information about the committee members may be found in Appendix B.

3  

Historical background on the CTR program is provided in a paper by Susan Koch, Cooperative Threat Reduction Negotiations: Lessons Learned (Appendix C).

4  

Nikolai Nikitovich Yurasov, The Experience of Cooperation in Accounting, Control and Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials Between the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the Department of Energy of the United States (Appendix D).

5  

See, for example, the study by Matthew Bunn and Anthony Wier, Securing the Bomb 2005: The New Global Imperatives. Online. Available at http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/publication.cfm?program=CORE&ctype=media_feature&item_id=398&ln=releases&gma=49. Accessed May 6, 2005.



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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action Introduction: From Assistance to Partnership The U.S. National Academies and the Russian Academy of Sciences cooperated in 2003 to convene a workshop to examine impediments to U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation. This event resulted in a workshop report: Overcoming Impediments to U.S. Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Report of a Joint Workshop.1 The present study, performed by a joint committee established by the two academies,2 builds upon the previous effort and provides specific recommendations that represent the consensus of American and Russian committees both to eliminate current impediments and to chart a future course for even closer cooperation. Since 1992, the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and State have worked with their counterparts in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union to develop and implement a number of joint nuclear nonproliferation initiatives, many of them under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) framework.3 This effort has significantly advanced the goals of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, particularly as it pertains to the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials stocks. These joint programs of the United States and the Russian Federation have enjoyed a number of important successes during the past several years. The high points of this cooperative effort have been the enhancement of security for nuclear storage facilities4; the commercial blenddown and sale of surplus Russian enriched uranium as power plant fuel; and the elimination of nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. This study acknowledges the important achievements to date. However, it also identifies a number of sometimes interrelated challenges to future cooperative efforts. Impediments to joint work have limited progress in the past and threaten to do so in the future. Some of these problems are the result of restrictive practices that flowed from the U.S. reaction to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and subsequent initiatives to combat international terrorism. Others are residual constraints not yet eliminated from the Cold War era. Still others involve legal issues, such as taxation and liability, managerial and organizational problems, project financing, and weaknesses in U.S.-Russian scientific and technical cooperation. Many of these challenges originate in legitimate concerns about national security matters in both countries and differences in perspectives on current international issues. Many thorough and serious studies have reported on the continuing impediments to cooperation and the necessity of overcoming them to speed up joint work on securing fissile materials (such as uranium-235 and plutonium-239) and other critical tasks.5 Recognizing this very real problem, the joint U.S.-Russian committee responsible for this study sought answers that would be practical and that could be pursued either in Moscow or in Washington, wherever they would be most relevant. The fact that they are offered as consensus U.S. and Russian recommendations makes them unique and, it is hoped, powerful in both capitals. This report’s emphasis on solutions, however, in no way downplays the very real challenges that continue to obstruct the joint cooperation. 1   National Research Council, Overcoming Impediments to U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Report of a Joint Workshop (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2004). 2   Biographical information about the committee members may be found in Appendix B. 3   Historical background on the CTR program is provided in a paper by Susan Koch, Cooperative Threat Reduction Negotiations: Lessons Learned (Appendix C). 4   Nikolai Nikitovich Yurasov, The Experience of Cooperation in Accounting, Control and Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials Between the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the Department of Energy of the United States (Appendix D). 5   See, for example, the study by Matthew Bunn and Anthony Wier, Securing the Bomb 2005: The New Global Imperatives. Online. Available at http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/publication.cfm?program=CORE&ctype=media_feature&item_id=398&ln=releases&gma=49. Accessed May 6, 2005.

OCR for page 7
Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action This report responds to these challenges in three ways. First, it provides an in-depth exploration of methods of overcoming impediments to existing cooperation in greater depth. Second, it examines the potential for expanded cooperation, based on a fuller concept of partnership. Third, it offers specific conclusions and recommendations that can be used to achieve the first two goals. The report records the consensus of Russian and American committee members on concrete and well-defined steps that can be taken to improve cooperative efforts that will have utility and relevance in both countries. The participants, in rendering this joint report, offer these recommendations to their governments, to nongovernmental organizations involved in the cooperation, and to the broader community of nonproliferation experts in the hope that they will be tools that can be used to strengthen cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation. Members of the joint committee relied primarily on two mechanisms to gather the information on which this report is based: commissioned papers by U.S. and Russian experts, which appear as appendixes to this report, and meetings of joint committee members with small groups of experts in Moscow and Washington in January and February 2005. The experts who participated in those meetings are listed in Appendix E. To encourage candor, the joint committee promised participants in the meetings that their comments would not be attributed to them.