Putin: Russia’s nuclear arsenal reduced to minimum level

Russia plans to “maintain the balance between the development of the ‘peaceful atom’ and strengthening the regime of non-proliferation,” Putin said

UNITED NATIONS, April 28. /TASS/. Russia consistently observes all the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and plans to continue work in this direction, says an address of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the participants of the NPT Review Conference on Tuesday.

“Russia consistently complies with all the provisions of the NPT, including Article VI. We have reduced our nuclear arsenal to a minimum level which is a significant contribution to the overall and full disarmament,” Putin said in the address which was distributed at the UN headquarters.

Russia plans to “continue work in this direction and also maintain the balance between the development of the ‘peaceful atom’ and strengthening the regime of non-proliferation, including the system of guarantees of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” the address reads.

Russia is committed to “close cooperation with all the interested parties on the creation of a modern, stable and safe architecture of cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy,” Putin said.

Under Article VI of the NPT, “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

The Russian president said the balance of the key elements of the NPT – nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy – is the guarantee of the convention’s viability.

Putin reminded that the NPT Review Conference coincides with the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. “This is significant milestone that serves to remind us about our common responsibility for the well-being of the planet and the need to preserve peace and jointly fight against the modern threats, and one of them is the nuclear weapons proliferation,” the president stressed.

“I expect that at the Conference the readiness of all the NPT states-parties will be confirmed to clearly comply with the commitments undertaken. No doubt, this will become an important factor of ensuring peace, security and stability on the whole planet,” he said.

The 2015 NPT Review Conference is expected to consider a number of key issues, including: universality of the Treaty; nuclear disarmament, including specific practical measures; nuclear non-proliferation, including the promoting and strengthening of safeguards; measures to advance the peaceful use of nuclear energy, safety and security; regional disarmament and non-proliferation; implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East; measures to address withdrawal from the Treaty; measures to further strengthen the review process; and ways to promote engagement with civil society in strengthening NPT norms and in promoting disarmament education.

Simple Switch to US Nuclear Fuel for Ukraine Plants Impossible – IAEA Official

Simple Switch to US Nuclear Fuel for Ukraine Plants Impossible - IAEA Official

MOSCOW, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – Simply switching from Russian-made nuclear fuel to its US equivalent for use in Ukrainian reactors is impossible, Miroslav Lipar, an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

The Ukrainian Energy Ministry has recently announced plans to diversify the country’s supply of nuclear fuel to reduce the current dependency on a single supplier – Russian state-controlled nuclear fuel producer TVEL.

Ukraine’s national nuclear power agency Energoatom earlier agreed to extend a fuel supply agreement with US-based company Westinghouse until 2020. Some experts consider the deal a threat to nuclear safety in the region.

“If Ukraine decides to change all fuel, then from the IAEA’s point of view it’s impossible, because this is not a simple metal part, this is very important from the safety viewpoint,” Miroslav Lipar, Head of the IAEA Operational Safety Section, told reporters on Wednesday.

“Any country that wants to adopt new fuel must carry out a lengthy operational testing of new fuel assemblies and evaluate the impact of their use on safety. Only after that they can change the entire core with permission from the [nuclear] regulatory body,” Lipar said on the sidelines of an international conference on nuclear power safety and efficiency in Moscow.

“We have the example of the Rivne nuclear power plant, when they replaced a small metal part, which was not authentic, on a safety valve. It led to a [unexpected] shut down of the safety valve,” the IAEA official added.

Tehran’s nuclear program. last-minute agreement

Tehran’s nuclear program. last-minute agreement

GENEVA, November 24 (RIA Novosti) – Iran and the so-called Group of Six nations holding talks over Tehran’s nuclear program clinched a last-minute agreement Sunday morning following four days of talks, apparently resolving the decade-long dispute over the issue.

A formal signing ceremony was held in the UN building in Geneva on Sunday involving representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States, led by the coordinator for the group, European Commission foreign relations head Catherine Ashton.

The core of the deal is a freeze on Iran’s nuclear program, in particular work on enrichment facilities, in exchange for a relaxation of the economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. The deal is interim and envisages further negotiations to hammer out measures to ensure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, Israel’s Haaretz reported.

The deal includes a limit on Iranian enrichment of nuclear materials, the New York Times reported. It will also lead to a lifting of sanctions against Iran currently imposed by the United States and European Union within six months, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov affirmed.

“This is a call to strengthen trust and allow our partners from the US and EU to relax the pressure of sanctions that they brought in against Iran, introduced unilaterally, without a decision of the Security Council,” he said. “We have never recognized these sanctions and it’s probably right to get rid of these unilateral sanctions in order to relax this strain on Iran.”

In exchange for the initial agreement, the United States will provide Tehran with sanctions relief worth around $6-7 billion in unfrozen oil revenue assets, the New York Times said.

Lavrov said the agreement recognized Tehran’s right in principle to exploit nuclear technology for peaceful purposes under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency, including the crucial issue of enrichment of nuclear materials, the main sticking point in previous talks between the two sides.

The deal “recognizes Iran’s right to the peaceful atom including the right to enrichment, on the understanding that all questions about the Iranian nuclear program that remain will be closed, and this program will be put under the strictest control of the IAEA. This is the final aim, but it is already set out in today’s document,” he said.

Lavrov’s statement seemed to be at odds with the view of his US counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry, who insisted the agreement did not envisage allowing Iranian nuclear enrichment.

Under the deal, Iran will not be allowed to enrich uranium in excess of five percent purity, a level that is suitable for use in power plants, the New York Times reported. Any uranium possessed by Iran in excess of 20 percent purity – a level suitable for conversion to use in a nuclear warhead – will be diluted or converted to oxide suitable for use as nuclear fuel, the paper said.

Iran currently holds up to 200 kg (440 pounds) of 20-percent enriched uranium, Kerry said. Within six months, under the deal, Iran “will not hold a single kilo of that uranium,” Kerry said.

US President Barack Obama said the agreement included “substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.”

Iran welcomed the agreement and said it was an opportunity to build renewed trust between all sides.

“We have formed a joint commission for monitoring the implementation of our agreement,” said Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. “Both sides can move forward and regain lost trust. The Iranian people ask for respect for their right…I hoped trust will be restored,” he said.