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WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel Bodman announced today that he and Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency Director Sergey Kiriyenko have submitted to Presidents Bush and Putin the third report of the Senior Interagency Working Group on implementation of the February 2005 Bratislava Checklist.
"We have jointly agreed to maintain the aggressive timeline of prioritized repatriation of fresh and spent highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel and conversion of research reactors in third world countries," Secretary Bodman said. "We will continue to implement the bilateral Joint Action Plans to improve the level of physical protection, control and accountability of nuclear weapons and materials stored at Russian Ministry of Defense and Rosatom facilities."
The report highlights progress over the past six months, including a joint field exercise in Russia in late 2006 focused on a search for radioactive materials and elimination of consequences resulting from a nuclear or radiological emergency. It also highlights "best practices" for maintaining the security of sensitive nuclear facilities and adopts a joint definition of "Security Culture." It commits both agencies to developing principles and evaluation criteria by the end of 2006.
Both sides noted the successful shipments of spent highly enriched uranium fuel of U.S. and Russian origin to the United States and Russia, respectively. During the February 2005 meeting in Bratislava, Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin committed both governments to securing nuclear weapons and fissile material to prevent the possibility that such weapons or materials could fall into the hands of terrorists. The Presidents established a bilateral Senior Interagency Working Group to address issues of cooperation on nuclear security; the group is charged with reporting on the status of cooperation to the Presidents.
Work under this initiative is of utmost importance for U.S., Russian and world security. It is the intention of both sides to continue cooperation for the foreseeable future and to provide the Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation with periodic reports on progress made. The Senior Interagency Working Group will submit its next report in December 2006.
Bryan Wilkes, (202)586-7371