“It’s a real tragedy because we have had successful cooperation in these areas…” — said state Department spokesman mark Toner in response to Russia’s decision to suspend cooperation agreements in the nuclear and energy sectors with the United States. “Any gap in international relations, it’s sad, but we did it first” – and meet our policy. Scientists analyze how the situation will develop in the field of scientific research and development after the break with the United States.
Recall that the severance agreement between Russia and the United States on the nuclear issue became known, on 4 October from the published orders of the Russian Cabinet of Ministers.
The document in question was signed on 16 September 2013 in Vienna. It was determined the directions of scientific and technical cooperation in the field of use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, including nuclear safety, designing of nuclear power plants, innovative types of reactor fuel, nuclear and radiation technologies in medicine and industry, radioactive waste management. Planned collaboration with the American specialists who would contribute to mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of nuclear energy and provide a savings of time and resources in conducting fundamental and applied research in this field… so, now it’s over. To blame, according to the American side, it is Russia? But this is not so.
According to the Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on foreign and defense policy Sergei Karaganov, according to the decision, our country is only reciprocated to the Americans that before, namely in April 2014 do unilaterally suspended cooperation in the field of nuclear energy in connection with the events in Ukraine. Russia while still hoping for the resumption of cooperation, but, in the end, according to Karaganov, still decided to “formally terminate the invalid agreement”.
So what is it that the damage inflicted on themselves, US and Russia, mutually abandoning cooperation on peaceful nuclear use, taking this decision followed the withdrawal from the Treaty on utilization of plutonium?
As clarified, “MK” one of the specialists of Rosatom, to which we asked for comment, a breakup is really a tragedy for all scholars, since the work on nuclear projects at nuclear power plants safety is very important. We have worked on a wide range of issues, from U.S. sales of fuel to conceptual development. Take, for example, the Generation IV project on creation of reactors of new generation, in which we actively participated – now our participation in it is questionable.
Russia cooperated with the United States and in the development of fast neutron reactors. Even with the 80-ies, when Leonid Brezhnev signed an agreement with the Americans about a joint project of the international fast reactor. Since then much water has flowed under the bridge, the Americans eventually abandoned the idea, considering that besides increasing energy, this will lead to more accumulation of pure plutonium (it is the result of the operation of the reactor on fast neutrons). In a situation when neither the United States nor Russia has not really started to reprocess weapons-grade plutonium accumulated during the arms race, again to increase its production in the fast reactor, according to the state, proved impracticable. And why on earth, stockpile of dangerous plutonium for us? The fact that plutonium is the best fuel for nuclear reactors – breeder fast reactors. Their implementation of the closed fuel cycle is a basis of strategy of development of full-scale nuclear power of the future. Industrial prototypes of these reactors – reactors bn-600 and bn-800 are already operating at the Beloyarsk NPP. “Left” to transfer these reactors to MOX (mixed oxide uranium-plutonium fuel).
In contrast to the us, our scientists came to the resolution of this problem, following the agreement on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium. According to him, our country, and the United States, had to build factories to create on the basis of weapons-grade plutonium mixed fuel MOX to its subsequent disposal in special reactors. We this agreement was followed to the last, and the Americans have abandoned attempts to create factories for the production of MOSS, which caused in the end by Russia a protest and tear “plutonium” to the agreement, which President Vladimir Putin said on 3 October.
Let’s return again to the peaceful atom. That’s why, for example, nuclear power plants in the United States — are working on Russian enriched uranium, and not on his? Because still have not mastered the more effective and cheapest method to obtain it. We, in contrast, “enriched” uranium-the isotope uranium-235 using centrifuges and their nuclear scientists have only the outdated technology of filtration. In principle, States would be interested in building the same centrifuge, but… Cases when politicians interfere with progress, you can give a lot, and this is one of them. In this case, the cards on the side of Russia. “A significant portion of the world market of enrichment of uranium-235 for nuclear power plants, to 35 percent, now belongs to Russia thanks to a rare amazing technology invented implemented in our country (today, the centrifuge of the 9th generation.) and this is our great advantage,” says our source from Rosatom.
Background rupture of most of our peaceful nuclear projects were seen in March-April, when for the first time in many years in Washington held a nuclear Summit without Russia. President Vladimir Putin said at the time that did not go, because “it has become clear, it is a home event, most likely American.” The work at the summit held in five groups, and Russia was invited to only one.
And yet more relationships (not only in the scientific field) experts do not expect. “Research is not the primary sphere of cooperation between Russia and the United States – said the “MK” the expert of the Analytical center of MGIMO Leonid Gusev. – Despite the fact that we have a mutual “speaking” against each other, will continue cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, particularly in Syria, will continue and cooperation on Afghanistan.” By the way, in the letter of termination on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers also notes that in Moscow there is a possibility of cooperation under the agreement “when it is justified from the point of view of the General context of relations with the United States.”