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Nuclear Cities Program Ends
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The Nuclear Cities Initiative, a U.S. sponsored program established in 1998 to provide nonmilitary work to the scientists and engineers of Russia’s closed nuclear cities, lapsed on Sept. 22 because Washington and Moscow were unable to negotiate a mutually acceptable liability agreement. Prior to the program’s expiration, the United States agreed on Sept. 19 to fund construction of a $9 million medical imaging facility in Snezhinsk to help cancer patients. The Department of Energy said all other existing nuclear cities projects will continue under a protocol signed by U.S. and Russian energy ministers Sept. 19, but no new projects will move forward.

Concerns about liability provisions—intended to protect the U.S. government and its representatives from lawsuits over problems that arise as threat reduction projects are carried out in Russia—also led to the termination of the Plutonium Disposition Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement in July. (See ACT, September 2003.)