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US Fails to Inform Russia About Changed Plutonium Disposal Method

© AFP 2021 / JOEL SAGETCars drive past the Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow on May 5, 2016.
Cars drive past the Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow on May 5, 2016. - Sputnik International
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Washington did not officially inform Moscow about its plans to change the method of disposing plutonium under a 2000 pact, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation department said in a statement published Tuesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia halted the plutonium disposal accord that envisaged both countries destroying each 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium by burning it in a nuclear reactor.

"Under the agreement, the disposal method can only be changed with the parties’ consent. Russia did not receive any official US request through diplomatic channels," Mikhail Ulyanov, the director of the ministry’s arms non-proliferation and control department, told the UN General Assembly in New York.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - Sputnik International
Lavrov: Moscow's Suspension of Russia-US Plutonium Agreement is 'Forced Measure'
He said that the disposal method was stipulated in the agreement and the 2010 protocol appendix, but the United States went for a potentially reversible method, which includes burying diluted plutonium in salt mines.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the "simplified" method used by the United States had been discussed previously and rejected. Russia’s government said it would suspend the deal over security concerns until Washington downsizes its military presence in several NATO member states.

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