The US Commits to Finance Ukraine’s Uranium Riddance
Kyiv, September 27, 2011. The U.S. will provide aid in securing Ukraine’s vulnerable nuclear materials as well as modernizing Ukrainian civil nuclear research facilities as the country gets rid of its stock of highly enriched uranium by March 2012. The respective document was signed by the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko on September 26, 2011, in New York.
According to the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding, the U.S. commits to modernize the Ukrainian civil research facilities so that they could operate on safer low-enriched uranium. The U.S. will also provide USD 60 million to Ukraine for the removal of highly enriched uranium from its territory. “This deal is a win-win for both countries and both peoples. It provides tangible benefits for the people of Ukraine, and it makes the world safer for all people,” commented Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State.
Hillary Clinton mentioned that the U.S. is already building a state-of-the-art neutron source facility in Ukraine. The center will provide scientists with tools to expand their nuclear research and produce more than 50 different medical isotopes for the purposes of treating cancer and other diseases. The USA is committed to complete the construction by 2014.
Discussing the issue of nuclear research, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko noted: “We are working together to relieve Ukraine of the burden of having highly enriched uranium in the time when low enriched uranium is really an answer to many of the issues.”
The Memorandum of Understanding is a long-awaited deal, with Ukraine first announcing its decision to get rid of highly enriched uranium in April 2010. At the time the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych participated in the Washington Summit on nuclear safety, initiated by the President of the USA Barack Obama.
After the dissolution of the USSR Ukraine decided to rid of its nuclear heritage. In December 1994 Ukraine has joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and proclaimed its non-nuclear status. The last nuclear warhead was shipped from Ukraine to Russia in 1996 but a significant amount of highly enriched uranium remained in storage at national research institutions.