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U.S., Russia to sign plutonium disposition protocol

On the margins of the nuclear security summit, the governments of the United States and Russia will sign plutonium disposition protocol on Tuesday to eliminate " excess weapons-grade plutonium from defense programs," said U.S. State Department.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who are attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, will represent the two governments to sign the protocol, under which the two countries would dispose 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.

"This signing represents a major and essential step toward enabling full implementation of our two countries' obligation to safely and transparently dispose of such excess weapon-grade plutonium, enough material for several thousand nuclear weapons," said the State Department in a statement.

The signing comes days after President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev signed a nuclear disarmament treaty on significant reductions of their nuclear arsenals, and will mark another important and positive for the summit, which is aimed at ensure global nuclear security.

The two countries, through signing the protocol, will reaffirm their commitment to "making arms reductions irreversible and to reducing the danger of this material ever falling into the hands of terrorists," said the statement.

Also on Monday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who is here for the summit, convinced President Obama in their personal meeting that his government will eliminate all the stockpile of highly enriched uranium in the country by 2012, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

Leaders of 46 countries are gathering in Washington for the nuclear security summit, which was sponsored by President Obama, in a bid to ensure global nuclear security and to prevent nuclear weapons and nuclear materials from being obtained by terrorists.

 Source : Xinhua  Editor: JAK
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