THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Independent U.S.-Russian Scientific Report on Reducing Excess Plutonium Stockpiles
A study by independent U.S. and Russian scientists released today by the Office of Science and Technology Policy recommends a broad program of cooperation between the United States, Russia, and other countries to reduce stockpiles of excess weapons plutonium resulting from ongoing nuclear arms reductions.
This independent group, the U.S.-Russian Independent Scientific Commission on Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium, was chartered as a result of a proposal by Russian President Boris Yeltsin at his Hyde Park meeting with President Clinton in October 1995. The commission was formally established in mid-1996 at the initiative of the U.S. President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and the Russian Academy of Sciences. The group was directed to make recommendations to the two Presidents on specific steps that could be taken to reduce stockpiles of excess weapons plutonium. These independent recommendations complement the government-level joint technical assessment of plutonium disposition options, also released today.
The interim report released today recommends that both the United States and Russia move forward quickly, and in parallel, to safely and securely store and then reduce their stockpiles of excess plutonium, with international inspection applied from very early in the process. The report urges that both countries pursue a dual-track approach, using some of the excess plutonium as fuel in existing nuclear reactors, and immobilizing the rest in glass or ceramic with high-level wastes. U.S.-Russian technical cooperation to demonstrate the feasibility of various approaches is already underway. These approaches are among the options being considered in the U.S. plutonium disposition program, led by the Department of Energy (DOE). DOE is expected to announce preferred alternatives for disposition of U.S. excess plutonium later this year.
"Moving forward to get rid of the vast stocks of excess bomb materials built up over nearly five decades of Cold War is one of this Administration's highest priorities," said John H. Gibbons, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and co-chairman of PCAST. "This report provides both Presidents with the views of this distinguished group of scientists on the quickest, most cost-effective, and most secure ways to reach that end, while protecting the environment and public safety. I have provided the report to both the President and the Vice President. This Administration will review these independent recommendations as we prepare to make decisions on options both for dealing with our own excess plutonium and our cooperation with Russia and other countries. I want to commend the members of the commission, both U.S. and Russian, for their hard work and their dedication to this important issue."
The U.S. team was chaired by Professor John Holdren of Harvard University, a member of PCAST, and included John Ahearne, Richard Garwin, Wolfgang K.H. Panofsky, and John Taylor. The Russian team was chaired by Academician Evgeniy Velikhov, President of the Kurchatov Institute, and included Aleksei A. Makarov, Fedor M. Mitenkov, Nikolai N. Ponomarev-Stepnoi, and Fedor Reshetnikov. The group's key recommendations are included in their interim report; a final report is expected in 1997.
Copies of the interim report are available on request fron the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Biographies of the panel members are overleaf.
Members of the U.S.-Russian Independent Scientific Commission on Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium
U.S. Co-chairman: John P. Holdren is Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and Professor of Science and Policy at Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. A member of President Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), Holdren has been deeply involved in energy, environment, and national security issues for decades. Holdren is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and chairs the NAS Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC). Holdren was a key participant in the CISAC 1994 and 1995 volumes Management and Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium and chaired that study's panel on reactor-related options. He is also chairman of the Executive Committee of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize with its founder, Joseph Rotblat. Holdren previously chaired the PCAST studies on cooperation to improve security for nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union , and on fusion energy development.
John Ahearne is Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, Duke University, and Director Emeritus of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. A former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Ahearne has been involved in both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons for decades. Ahearne has served as Chairman of the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Committee on Nuclear Facilities Safety, Co-chairman of the Committee on External Regulation of the U.S. Department of Energy, and Chairman of the NAS Committee on the Future of Nuclear Power Development. He has served as a member of the CISAC Panel on Reactor-Related Options for the Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium, the Senior Technical Review Group to the Amarillo National Resource Center for Plutonium, and the NAS panels on nuclear safety research and cooperation to improve former Soviet reactor safety.
Richard L. Garwin is Thomas J. Watson Fellow Emeritus, IBM Research Laboratories. A member of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC, predecessor to PCAST) under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, he has been a long-time participant in nuclear-weapons and intelligencetechnology development (including the engineering design of the first hydrogen bomb). He is the recipient of the 1991 Erice ?Science for Peace? Prize, the 1996 R.V. Jones Intelligence Award of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and some 42 U.S. patents. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. He is also a member of CISAC and of its Panel on Reactor-Related Options for the Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium.
Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky is Director Emeritus of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. A participant in the Manhattan Project, Panofsky has been involved in nuclear weapons and nuclear arms control ever since. He was a member of PSAC under Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy and chaired PSAC's Strategic Military Panel. A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a foreign associate of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he is a member and Chair Emeritus of CISAC and chaired its study Management and Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium. He is a member of the Senior Technical Review Group to the Amarillo National Resource Center for Plutonium.
John J. Taylor is Emeritus Vice President for Nuclear Power, Electric Power Research Institute. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Taylor served as Vice President, responsible for commercial nuclear power, of Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and he participated in the development of the first U.S. nuclear submarine, nuclear aircraft carrier, nuclear cruiser, and nuclear power generating station. He is a former board member of the Advanced Reactor Corporation, a former member of the Nuclear Safety Advisory Group to the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and chairman of the OECD study of water-reactor technologies. He is also a member of the CISAC panel on Reactor-Related Options for the Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium and of the Senior Technical Review Group to the Amarillo National Resource Center for Plutonium.
U.S. Executive Secretary: Matthew Bunn directed the CISAC volumes Management and Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium and serves as an advisor to the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Russian Co-Chairman: Evgeniy P. Velikhov is President of the Russian Research Center ?Kurchatov Institute,? Russia's leading independent nuclear institute, and Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). A member of both the Defense Council and the Council on Science and Technology of the Russian Federation, Academician Velikhov has played a key role in both Russian science and Russian arms reductions policies for many years. A leading high-energy laser expert, Velikhov is the leader of Russia's fusion energy program.
Aleksei A. Makarov is director of the Institute of Energy Economics in Moscow and is a leading economic analyst of energy options. He is widely published in both Russia and the West. Makarov is a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Fedor M. Mitenkov is director of the Ministry of Atomic
Energy (MINATOM) nuclear design institute at Nizhny Novgorod,
which is responsible for a wide range of nuclear systems, and
he served as architect-engineer for follow-on fast-neutron
reactors and high-temperature gas reactors. Mitenkov is a
member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a long-time
reactor designer in Russia.
Nikolai N. Ponomarev-Stepnoi is Vice President of the Russian Research Center Kurchatov Institute. A member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he has played a leading role in a wide range of nuclear projects, including cooperation with the United States on the Topaz space thermionic nuclear system, the conversion of Russian military plutonium production reactors, and security and accounting for weapons-usable nuclear materials.
Fedor G. Reshetnikov is a senior scientist at MINATOM's Bochvar Institute of Inorganic Materials in Moscow, with responsibility for directing the institute's plutonium disposition programs. A member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Reshetnikov has been a leading participant in development of Russian plutonium processing and fuel fabrication techniques for decades, and he served until recently as Scientific Advisory to the Minister of Atomic Energy.
Russian Executive Secretary: Dmitry F. Tsourikov is Deputy Director of the Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Research Center Kurchatov Institute.