Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 17, July - August 1997
US-Russia Materials Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) ProgrammePress Conference by Secretary of Energy Federico Pena, Moscow, 23 July 1997
"I arrived in Moscow on Sunday with three objectives in mind:
In the last three days, I've been to the Kurchatov Institute; I've met with Chairman of the Government Viktor Chernomyrdin, First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, Minister of Atomic Energy Viktor Mikhailov, Russian Minister of Natural Resources Viktor Orlov, and representatives of the Defense Council and several members of the Duma. And I believe we've made progress on these areas of concern to both of our nations.
Let me talk about the first objective. Russia and the United States have the world's largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons and weapons-grade nuclear material, and we share the belief, formalized through a number of agreements, that these dangerous weapons and materials must not fall into the wrong hands.
One important component of our effort is the Materials Protection, Control and Accounting Program, or, for those who use acronyms, the MPC&A Program. Under the Materials Protection, Control and Accounting Program, the Department of Energy laboratories work with the Russian nuclear labs to develop the security controls that will keep the nuclear material at Russian facilities secure.
The Russian government has installed sensors, portal monitors, fences, radiation detectors, and established accounting techniques to secure nuclear materials that would otherwise, at this critical transition point in Russia, be at risk.
Today I'm pleased to announce that this cooperative effort is growing. On Monday Minister Mikhailov and I signed a joint statement to include a new facility, the Lytkarino Scientific Research Institute for Equipment, in this effort. Lytkarino is a facility that deals with sensitive nuclear materials, and its inclusion in the MPC&A security effort bolsters US-Russian non-proliferation cooperative efforts.
Minister Mikhailov and I also discussed a number of key issues in anticipation of the upcoming September meeting between Vice President Gore and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, including the following subjects:
This initiative to monitor the storage of weapons-grade nuclear material not required for military purposes is an important step in creating an overall system of openness and transparency.
We also discussed moving forward to implement the agreement to stop production of weapons-grade plutonium at three reactors in Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk. The energy produced by these reactors is needed to provide electricity and heat to those cities. Our mutual goal is to eliminate the production of weapons-grade material by replacing the cores of the reactors while at the same time meeting the heating and electricity needs for the two cities.
At the Kurchatov Institute yesterday I signed a joint statement with Academician Velikhov to expand cooperation on the following areas: nuclear safety, environmental protection, nuclear technology research and development, cessation of production of weapons-usable material, plutonium disposition, non-proliferation, and nuclear materials protection, control and accounting.
I also met with Russian Navy officers to review our MPC&A Program, and we agreed to expand it.
In short, we're making progress accelerating efforts to prevent the spread of dangerous weapons and materials, which is important to both our countries' national security and to the security of the world. And we expect to announce additional agreements at the September meeting of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission. ..."
Source: 'Transcript - Pena press conference in Moscow July 23,' United States Information Agency, 23 July.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.