Public Papers

Statement on the Russia-United States Agreement on the Disposition of Uranium From Nuclear Weapons


Over the past year the United States and the former Soviet Union have agreed to cut their strategic nuclear arsenals by two-thirds and to eliminate most of their tactical nuclear weapons, including all ground-launched systems. As a result of these dramatic reductions, thousands of nuclear warheads are being dismantled in Russia and the United States. The United States and Russia are cooperating closely to help ensure the safe and secure transport, storage, and dismantlement of former Soviet nuclear weapons.

I am pleased to announce that the Russian Federation and the United States have now also initialed an agreement to ensure that highly enriched uranium from dismantled nuclear weapons will be used only for peaceful purposes. Our two Governments have initialed an agreement, which we expect to sign quickly, providing for the conversion of this material into civilian reactor fuel. We have also agreed to establish measures to ensure that the nonproliferation, physical security, material accounting and control, and environmental requirements covering this material are fully met.

Under the agreement, the United States and Russia would seek within the next 12 months to conclude an implementing contract establishing the terms of the purchase of weapons-grade uranium by the U.S. Department of Energy and the dilution of that material to reactor-grade uranium for sale as commercial reactor fuel. The contract would also provide for the participation of the U.S. private sector and the use by the Russian Federation of a portion of the proceeds to increase the safety of nuclear reactors in the former Soviet Union.

Abroad, this agreement will help ensure that nuclear weapons-grade material does not fall into the wrong hands, while providing funds to promote economic reforms and the transition to a market-based economy. At home, this agreement will secure long-term supplies of less expensive fuel for U.S. nuclear power stations to the benefit of American consumers, with no adverse impact on American jobs. Thus, this U.S.-Russian agreement illustrates how foreign policy accomplishments can promote our domestic economic well-being while making the world a safer place to live.