US, Russian Nuclear Material Cooperation in Question

Tensions with Russia have damaged joint US-Russian nuclear security and nonproliferation efforts and the Kremlin is reconsidering its future cooperation, said National Nuclear Security Administration chief retired Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz. “The state of the political climate following events in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine have put a damper on lab-to-lab engagements” in areas such as securing, storing, and tracking nuclear material, Klotz told reporters in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29. “Quite frankly, there is a review going on within Russia at the moment as to how our cooperation will continue” beyond 2014, he added. The Kremlin severed nuclear missile and bomber dismantlement cooperation when the 1991 Cooperative Threat Reduction agreement expired last year. CTR was “an extraordinarily important chapter not only in terms of the larger relationship between our two countries, but also for securing vulnerable nuclear weapons and materials,” he said. “The new agreement does not extend to the Ministry of Defense in Russia … so there’s already a qualitative difference” and future cooperation is an open question, Klotz said. (Cooperative Threat Reduction Program factsheet)