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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 10, November 1996

Department of Energy press releases and statements:
Fissile Materials; Non-Proliferation Assistance; Resignation of Secretary O'Leary

Fissile Materials

'Trilateral Initiative on Verifying Excess Weapon Origin Fissile Materials', Press Statement, 8 November 1996

Full text

"The United States, the Russian Federation, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have launched a new initiative concerning the application of IAEA verification of weapon origin fissile materials. US Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary, Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Viktor Mikhailov, and IAEA Director General Hans Blix announced the trilateral initiative on 17 September, 1996, at the 40th General Conference of the IAEA in Vienna, Austria.

The trilateral initiative, which is to result in a joint progress report by June 1997, is parallel to, and complementary to, commitments made by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin regarding the transparency and irreversibility of nuclear arms reduction.

As the first step in the initiative, representatives from Russia and the IAEA visited three Department of Energy sites this week: Argonne National Laboratory - West; the Hanford Site; and the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site. During the visits to Hanford and Rocky Flats, information was exchanged on US-IAEA experience regarding inspections under the Voluntary Offer Safeguards Agreement at US facilities to verify that excess plutonium currently under IAEA safeguards at those sites is not used for weapons.

Today the first trilateral consultations at the expert level were conducted. It was decided that further discussion would occur in Moscow in December 1996."

Non-Proliferation assistance to Newly Independent States

Progress Reviewed on Technical Support to Newly Independent States in Non-proliferation Field, Press Release PR 96/24, 11 November 1996

Full text

"A meeting was held at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna 6-8 November to review implementation of agreed plans to help Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union in fulfilling their nuclear non-proliferation commitments.

As most NIS have become parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapon states, a number of donor countries have offered bilateral assistance to set up: State Systems of Accounting and Control (SSACs) of nuclear material; physical protection of such material; and import/export controls. The IAEA has played a coordinating role by helping to identify specific needs in individual states and appropriate donor support.

The meeting was attended by representatives of 14 Newly Independent States and 9 donor States - Australia, Finland, France, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. In addition, Argentina, Canada, the Republic of Korea and Turkey attended as observers.

The meeting underlined the need for an integrated approach to nuclear nonproliferation encompassing SSACs, physical protection and import/export controls. Also stressed as basic requirements were the establishment of an appropriate framework of national nuclear laws and regulations in each recipient state, plus the necessary political commitment and coordination.

The IAEA's continued role in coordinating technical support for the NIS was welcomed, and the Agency has offered to organize similar annual reviews in future, provided the necessary assistance is forthcoming."

Resignation of Secretary O'Leary

Statement from the Department of Energy, N-96-048, 13 November 1996

Full text

"Yesterday, Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary met with President Clinton to discuss the accomplishments at the Department of Energy and remaining challenges for the administration's second term. Her focus was also on the orderly transition to a new administration. The President recognized the many successes of the Department of Energy, including the difficult chore of changing culture while accepting significant new responsibilities.

Today, she submitted her letter of resignation to President Clinton. This was the culmination of her early commitment to serve the nation as Secretary of Energy for four years. Her resignation is effective 20 January, 1997. Under Secretary O'Leary's leadership, the Clinton administration has addressed critical national issues

and made clear progress for the American people. The Department has:

* Worked to enhance national security in the post-Cold War-era. It provided the technical foundation and path-breaking science to end nuclear weapons testing, achieve a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and ensure the safety and reliability of the remaining weapons arsenal.

* Become more open and more accountable to the public. Through this public trust, the Department was able to make significant progress on cleaning up weapons sites, help stem the international spread of nuclear weapons materials and introduce corporate business practices to the Department of Energy.

* Contributed to the President's plan to eliminate the federal budget deficit by the year 2002. The Department radically reformed the way it does business, in support of the Vice President's charge to do more with less. The Department adopted performance-based contracting practices, privatized functions, realigned our workforce and undertook the first comprehensive review of the national laboratories. These changes will save taxpayers $10.5 billion over a five-year period. Since 1993, the Department's budget has declined from $19.3 billion to $16.5 billion in 1997.

* Turned the corner on remediation of the environmental legacy of the Cold War. Nationwide, the Department has moved from study to cleanup of 744 waste sites at the nation's former nuclear weapons facilities, compared with the 68 that were cleaned up during the previous administration.

* Worked to increase the diversity of the nation's energy supplies, improve energy efficiency and advance the development of renewable sources of energy. In partnership with industry, the Department won more 'R& D 100' awards - the Nobel Prize for technology - than all other government agencies combined and more than twice as many as the top industrial winner.

* Helped improve the position of the United States in the global economic marketplace by promoting clean energy and advanced technologies. The Department has worked for American companies to secure business and jobs internationally, where energy infrastructure growth is estimated at $4 trillion.

* Continued to be recognized for outstanding achievements in basic science by its national laboratories and scientists. Four of five 1995 Nobel Prizes in chemistry and physics and two of three 1996 Nobel Prizes in physics were awarded for DOE-supported research.

Secretary O'Leary also expresses gratitude and pride in the people of the Department of Energy who are responsible for these achievements. Despite bitter partisan attack to the worth and vitality of the agency, her colleagues have worked tirelessly and loyally to deliver on important commitments related o the Department's national security, energy, environmental, science and technology, and economic missions."

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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