WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Nuclear experts from the United States and Russia continue to meet and collaborate at a professional level, despite the downturn in the relations between the two nations, Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INNM) President Larry Satkowiak told Sputnik.
"INMM is a professional society. We’re all professional and we continued our relationship as professionals," Satkowiak said. "That really doesn’t affect us on the professional side. The professional collaboration hasn’t stopped."
The Russia-US relations have soured when Washington imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Moscow for its alleged role in the conflict in southeastern Ukraine. Russia has denied any involvement and advocated for a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Kiev forces and pro-independence militia in the country’s southeast.
"Every summer we have an annual meeting where people come and present papers on what they are working on in the nuclear fields. We had several Russian scientists submit abstracts and they were accepted and I think several of them will be participating," he said.
INMM has seven regional chapters, including chapters in Russia as well as 16 student chapters at universities worldwide, Satkowiak noted.
"We do have as I said three regional chapters within Russia. Some are more active than others. I’m hoping that over time they will be more engaged in the future," he added.
The 57th annual meeting of the INMM is slated for July 24-28 in the US State of Georgia’s capital of Atlanta.
"It’s very important that we [United States and Russia] cooperate, and I think we will get there. There are signs that it’s changing. It’s going back. It’s changing back," Satkowiak stated.
He noted that such cooperation is incredibly important, "because if you look where the nuclear material is and who has the nuclear weapons, 98 percent of all the material and weapons are in our two countries."
Satkowiak characterized US-Russia nuclear collaboration at present as being on a rather low level given the disagreements between the US and Russian governments.
"I’m a government contractor, and so if my government says ‘don’t work with Russia any more’ or if there’s a disagreement between the two countries, we have to do what they tell us to do," he explained.
Satkowiak noted there is still work going on at several facilities in Russia.
"The scope of our work has declined quite a bit, but we’re still trying to stay engaged with our Russian counterparts and colleagues," he added.