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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 18, September 1997

Progress Report on IAEA-US-Russia Trilateral Initiative

'Press Statement on the Trilateral Initiative,' IAEA Press Release, PR 97/26, 30 September 1997

Full text

"Minister of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation, Viktor Mikhailov, Secretary of Energy of the United States, Federico Peña, and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hans Blix, met in Vienna on 30 September 1997 to review the progress made over the last year in the Trilateral Initiative to consider practical measures for the application of IAEA verification to weapon-origin fissile materials.

The Trilateral Initiative was launched by Minister Mikhailov, Director General Blix, and then-Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary at their 17 September 1996 meeting. The aim of the initiative was to fulfill the commitments made by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin concerning IAEA verification of weapon-origin fissile materials and to complement their commitments regarding the transparency and irreversibility of nuclear arms reductions.

At their 1996 meeting, the three parties established a Joint Group to consider the various technical, legal, and financial issues associated with IAEA verification of relevant fissile materials. The group is seeking to define verification measures that could be applied at Russia's Mayak Fissile Material Storage Facility when it is commissioned and at one or more United States facilities where identified weapon-origin fissile materials removed from defense programs will be submitted for verification. The group met on five occasions during the past year, in Washington, Moscow, and Vienna. In addition, the United States hosted Russian and IAEA experts at the Hanford, Washington and Rocky Flats, Colorado plutonium storage sites and at Argonne National Laboratory-West in Idaho in November 1996. The Russian Federation hosted Director General Blix and IAEA staff at the Mayak storage facility in August 1997.

In its deliberations, the group has addressed the scope and purpose of IAEA verification; the locations, types, and amounts of weapon-origin fissile material potentially subject to IAEA verification; technologies that might be capable of performing verification and monitoring objectives without disclosing sensitive information; and options for funding and providing a legal framework for IAEA verification measures. The group also identified milestones for future work..

In looking forward to the activities of the next year, Minister Mikhailov invited the United States and the IAEA to send experts to Mayak to consider facility-specific measures. Secretary Peña invited the IAEA and the Russian Federation to send experts to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on December 1-5, 1997 for a joint demonstration of verification and monitoring technologies.

Minister Mikhailov, Secretary Peña, and Director General Blix agreed that the three Principals would meet again in September 1998 to review progress."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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