Russia, US nuclear cooperation to continue in 2015 – Rosatom
Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom denies that Moscow has ended more than 20 years of nuclear security cooperation with the US. The two countries will continue the joint effort to secure and store nuclear materials, Rosatom has said.
“Cooperation between Russia and the United States in this field will continue,” reads Thursday’s statement from the conglomerate.
“Russia and the United States of America bear a special responsibility for ensuring the safety and security of nuclear materials and their reliable physical protection, preventing them from falling into the hands of terrorist organizations,” it added.
The statement denies claims published in US media earlier this week that Russia had initiated the discontinuation of the nuclear security program that has been in place since the 1990s. The program is aimed at keeping nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists or rogue states, by securing and dismantling Russia’s large stockpile of nuclear weapons, in addition to protecting weapons-grade uranium and plutonium supply from theft.
“[Nuclear security] cannot and should not depend on situational changes on the political scene. We will be ready to renew cooperation when the American side is ready, obviously on a strict basis of equality, mutually benefit and with mutual respect.”
On Monday The Boston Globe published a report claiming that Russians informed the American side that they were withdrawing from the nuclear security alliance.
The Rosatom statement refutes these claims, while also stating that in March the US State Department announced that the US was ending its participation in the program, as tensions were on the rise in light of the escalating crisis in Ukraine.
“However, in March, 2014, through the announcement on the website, the Department of State notified us about the suspension of work within this mechanism, which we find very efficient,” it reads.
However in November, The New York Times reported that Rosatom head Sergey Kirienko told senior US officials that Russia is looking to cut back on joint nuclear security efforts and that no new projects in Russia are “envisioned” for 2015, according to the US officials in question.