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U.S.-GERMAN COOPERATION IN THE ELIMINATION OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM
and the IAEA.10 In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is in charge of the regulation of MPC&A activities for non-military nuclear activities; MPC&A for defense programs remain the responsibility of DOE.
The DOE, the NRC, the IAEA, and Euratom have developed criteria for evaluating the relative attractiveness of nuclear materials for use in weapons. These criteria are generally related to the amount of the material required for a single weapon (“significant quantity”), the time to process the material to a weapons-usable form, and the technical difficulty of processing it to this form. From the beginning of the German civilian nuclear industry the highest standards of MPC&A have been applied. German participation in activities related to managing Russian plutonium will require standards as high as possible and will have the goal of raising existing Russian standards. The U.S. government also stresses the critical importance of maintaining the highest standards of security and accounting for nuclear materials throughout the process in all its discussions of plutonium disposition, regardless of which disposition option is chosen.
In the former Soviet Union, accounting for nuclear materials has traditionally been limited; the system was designed to respond to external threats. MPC&A relied on financial and prison penalties in case of failure. The director of a facility was personally responsible, but few additional technical systems would remain functioning when personal responsibilities failed. Security relied on staff who were bound in a closed social system which guaranteed their social safety and which controlled their contacts. But physical protection measures against external threats were strong.
Now all facilities face tremendous financial problems and demoralized ill-paid personnel. As a consequence, inside threats stemming from such social problems are becoming real. Although so far none of the known cases of nuclear smuggling involved material directly from the nuclear weapons or reserves, the number of cases of thefts from the civilian nuclear complex or from military non-weapons areas (e.g., from naval nuclear power reactors) has increased in recent years.
INFCIRC/193 is the agreement between the IAEA and Euratom that enables the IAEA to carry out inspections in the Euratom non-nuclear weapons states and regulates the safeguards relationship between both organizations. It was amended by the Partnership Agreement of April 1992 between the IAEA and Euratom, which has made the cooperation more effective and more cost effective.