NEWSLINK: Why the US should keep cooperating with Russia on nuclear security

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[“Why the US should keep cooperating with Russia on nuclear security” – The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – Peter E. Davis, Siegfried S. Hecker – May 29, 2014] 

Stanford University’s Peter E. Davis and Siegfried S. Hecker consider U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear security in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of occupied Crimea:

We were surprised that without exception every one of our Russian colleagues, nuclear scientists who in some cases we have known for 25 years, defended Moscow’s actions and criticized Washington and the West over Ukraine. …, we agreed that we cannot reconcile our views of what is happening in Ukraine, so we returned to problems that require our continued attention, namely how to prevent nuclear proliferation and guard against nuclear terrorism. We agreed that we have made a lot of progress working together over the past 20-plus years, but that we are not done.

The purpose of our visit was to finish work on a book we are jointly writing about how Russian and American nuclear scientists joined forces at the end of the Cold War to help deal with nuclear risks in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union. These new risks had resulted from post-Soviet chaos and the breakdown of nuclear order. One of the main objectives of the book is to rejuvenate nuclear cooperation, which Moscow has dramatically curtailed during the past decade … Moscow has sent an unambiguous message … that the United States can shift its efforts at nuclear security cooperation to the rest of the world, but that it is done in Russia. The shift resulted from Moscow’s increased confidence in its own nuclear security and its security services’ determination to keep Americans out of Russia’s nuclear facilities.

In contrast to Moscow’s pronouncements, Russia’s nuclear specialists recognize that continued cooperation is needed. Nuclear safety and nuclear security are never-ending jobs that require cooperation and sharing of best practices. Russia’s experts do not want to return to nuclear isolation because they believe it led to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and to the nuclear security crisis following the breakup of the Soviet Union. …

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