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WASHINGTON, December 11 (Itar-Tass) - Russia and the US have bright prospects for long-term nuclear power cooperation, U.S. Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller told Itar-Tass Tuesday. She participated in a reception at the Russian embassy to the US devoted to completion of the Megatons to Megawatts program that continued for 20 years.
Asked about the project’s importance for both countries, Gottemoeller said it indicated Russia and the US were able to cooperate during a long period of time, which meant they could face challenging tasks, cope with them and be successful. She added there had been occasional disagreements but the two countries were capable of joint solving problems together by and large.
Speaking of the prospects, Gottemoeller expressed the hope the countries would some time celebrate the 60th anniversary of cooperation in nuclear energy for peace purposes.
Among other guests there were the head of the Rosatom nuclear corporation Sergey Kirienko and U.S. First Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman.
Megatons to Megawatts program also known as HEU-LEU (high-enriched uranium - low-enriched uranium) was launched in February 1993, when the two countries’ governments signed the Agreement Concerning the Disposition of Highly-Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons. Under the agreement, Russia was to convert 500 tonnes of high-enriched uranium disposed from nuclear weapons into low-enriched uranium that was further sold to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) that paid for the enrichment service, for returning natural uranium an amount equivalent to what would be spent in case of enrichment of natural uranium.
The last consignment of containers with uranium from about 80 warheads was forwarded from St. Petersburg to Baltimore, Maryland, mid-November. They were initially planned to be loaded on truck at a ceremony on December 10 and sent for further processing to the gaseous diffusion plant in the town of Paducah, Kentucky but the snowfall that engulfed Washington and the outskirts cancelled the ceremony.