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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 21, December 1997

Russia Decides to Sell Uranium to World Markets

On 11 December, it was reported that the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry (MinAtom) announced an important change of policy: henceforth it would offer uranium made available through the dismantlement of nuclear weapons to all bidders on the world market, rather than - as specified in an August 1997 agreement - transfer it exclusively to the US, for distribution thereafter to only three companies (Cameco Corporation of Canada, Cogema of France and Nukem Incorporated of the US). According to Alexander Belosokhov, First Deputy Minister of MinAtom:

"In practice, the [August] deal excluded Russia from sales on the world market... It meant that Russia could lose up $300 million to $500 million. Thus it is necessary for Russia to go to the world market independently... We will work with any firm in any country - in France, Canada, with whomever - but we will not accept discriminatory, unprofitable conditions for Russia..."

Report: Russia to sell old nuclear weapon uranium directly, Reuters, 11 December.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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