A New Legal Framework for U.S.-Russian Cooperation in Nuclear Nonproliferation and Security
On June 14, the United States and the Russian Federation signed a bilateral framework on threat reduction that reinforces our longstanding partnership on nonproliferation. This new legal framework builds upon the success of the 1992 Agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation Concerning the Safe and Secure Transportation, Storage and Destruction of Weapons and the Prevention of Weapons Proliferation, commonly known as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Umbrella Agreement, which expired on June 17, 2013.
As long-time partners with a mutual interest in promoting nuclear security, the United States and the Russian Federation have successfully worked together on a broad range of activities designed to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by securing and eliminating WMD-related materials and technology, and engaging relevant expertise. This close cooperation will continue under a new framework that reflects the evolution of this longstanding partnership, recognizes common threats, and provides for the continuation of a range of cooperative projects to reduce nuclear threats. It also allows for the addition of new activities in the future.
Future joint nuclear security activities in the Russian Federation will be conducted under the 2003 Framework Agreement on a Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programme in the Russian Federation (MNEPR) and a related bilateral Protocol signed on June 14, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Under the new bilateral protocol to MNEPR, U.S.-Russian cooperation will continue in a broad array of nuclear security and nonproliferation areas, including but not limited to:
- improving security of nuclear and radiological material;
- customs control of nuclear and radioactive material;
- recovery and securing of radioactive sources;
- consolidation of nuclear material and conversion of excess highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU);
- conversion of HEU research reactors to operate with LEU; and
- nuclear submarine dismantlement.
The new framework includes provisions that will authorize and facilitate bilateral cooperation in these areas and are based on the provisions of the previous agreement on bilateral nuclear security cooperation. We anticipate a number of U.S. government organizations, including the Departments of State, Energy, and Defense, will remain involved under this new agreement.
Under the new framework, the Russian Federation will assume the costs and complete without further U.S. assistance two areas of bilateral CTR cooperation previously covered by the CTR framework: ballistic missile elimination and chemical weapons destruction. Projects in both areas were winding down this year after many years of successful cooperation. The parties continue to discuss potential technical cooperation on chemical weapons destruction outside the new framework. Additionally, we have worked together intensively over the years with Russia on its nuclear warhead protection systems. We are proud of these joint efforts, and Russia will now take full responsibility over this mission.
The United States looks forward to continued partnership on nuclear security with the Russian Federation in this new era of nonproliferation cooperation. The citizens of both of our nations are safer for the work that was completed under the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and we are strongly committed to making further progress under this new cooperative agreement.