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THE HAGUE, March 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow is concerned about the accumulation of weapons-grade fissile materials in some countries that have no nuclear weapons and hopes the United States will play a more active role in solving this issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the opening on the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on Monday, March 24.
“Along with the programme to return fresh and irradiated highly-enriched uranium from Russian-design nuclear research reactors to Russia, launched in 2002, we have also been converting the cores of these reactors from using highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium or halting their operation altogether,” the minister said. “Over the past 12 years, 790 kilos of fresh and 1,289 kilos of irradiated highly-enriched uranium have been transported from 14 countries: completely from nine countries and partially from five countries,” he said.
Russia “is concerned about the unjustified accumulation of weapons-grade fissile materials in some countries that possess no nuclear weapons. They are in no hurry to get rid of them even though the abovementioned programme provides necessary possibilities for that,” Lavrov said.
“We hope that the US could play a more active role here,” he added.
The minister called for giving universal status to the fundamental international documents on nuclear security and urged all countries to join them as soon as possible.
He reiterated Moscow’s readiness to step up cooperation in the field of nuclear security. “Nuclear terrorism remains one of the serious threats. This is why we attach special significance to improving the security of information on the protection of nuclear materials and relevant facilities. It is necessary to improve the protection of automatic control systems that affect security at nuclear energy facilities,” Lavrov said.
The minister stressed that Moscow was consistently performing all of its obligations in the field of nuclear security. “We consistently fulfill our obligations assumed at the Seoul Summit and organised, in cooperation with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], seminars on the nuclear security culture in November 2012 and December 2013, primarily for specialists in the countries that operate, build or plan to build power reactors designed in Russia,” he said.
“In September 2012, the Moscow region hosted the exercise Strazh-2012 as part of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which was attended by experts from more than 50 countries,” Lavrov said.