Indeed, some facilities still have not fully conducted measured physical inventories of existing material. Finally, few facilities can report progress in disposing of excess weapon-usable material for which there is no current or future need. Finally, there is not a single reported example of a facility outside the navy program where dormant weapon-usable material has been transferred to a more secure location.
In the past, difficulties experienced by United States specialists in gaining access to sensitive Russian facilities within the Rosatom complex were frequently cited by DOE as a major impediment to MPC&A progress. Such access has been required for U.S. specialists to participate in the design of systems, monitor progress, and audit expenditures. Issues over access to Rosatom sites in both closed and open locations have clearly delayed the program. In contrast, there have been far fewer problems at facilities outside the Rosatom complex. In recent years, Russian access to U.S. laboratories for familiarization with U.S. approaches has been difficult. While the need for such familiarization visits has declined in recent years, this lack of reciprocity has not been lost on Russian officials. Nevertheless, as indicated in Box 4.1, DOE believes significant progress has been made in resolving access issues. The committee is not in a position to endorse this statement but considers it to be important and worth noting.
As discussed in previous chapters, DOE cooperation with the Russian navy to secure fresh nuclear fuel rods fabricated for use in submarines has been highly
Significant progress has been made in resolving the issue of access. DOE and Rosatom have established an acceleration working group that has formulated procedures to allow limited access to some of the more sensitive Rosatom facilities. These procedures have been successfully employed at a pilot facility, which led to an agreement to use the strategy at two additional facilities. Based on the success of this approach, DOE remains confident that it will have sufficient access to sensitive facilities to meet DOE’s commitment to complete the installation of rapid and comprehensive upgrades at all facilities in the joint MPC&A program by the end of 2008.
SOURCE: Official statement by DOE conveyed to the committee in January 2005.