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"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Contracts Awarded to Replace Russian Reactors With Fossil-Fuel Plants

In another step toward shutting down Russia’s three remaining reactors that produce weapons-grade plutonium, the U.S. Department of Energy Sept. 29 announced that the Russian company Rosatomstroi inked agreements with Washington Group International and Raytheon Technical Services to replace the existing facilities with plants that use fossil fuel. Plans for the U.S.-Russian cooperative project were announced in March 2003. (See ACT, April 2003.)

Under the agreement, worth $466 million, the companies will refurbish one existing plant to become a coal-fired heat and electricity facility and construct another one to replace the three reactors that provide heat and electricity to the closed cities of Seversk and Zheleznogorsk in Siberia. After the fossil-fuel plants are successfully brought online, the existing reactors will be shut down. According to plans outlined in May, the Seversk plant will be refurbished by Washington International Group and activated in 2008. Raytheon Technical Services is tasked with constructing the new plant in Zheleznogorsk. Officials are eyeing 2011 as the year the last of the three targeted Russian nuclear reactors will cease operation.