Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today signed a protocol to extend and amend the 1994 Joint Coordinating Committee for Radiation Effects Research Agreement. The Agreement provides the legal framework for U.S. and Russian scientists to collaborate on radiation effects research, including study of the impact of radiation exposure on more than 26,000 Russian nuclear workers and 30,000 civilians near Russian nuclear sites. The extension will allow U.S. and Russian scientists to continue collecting and analyzing data to estimate the risk of cancer from radiation exposure.
Today’s signing will renew the Agreement signed in 1994 through 2014.
The Agreement funds the Russian Health Studies Program, which assesses worker and public health risks from radiation exposure to nuclear weapons production activities in the former Soviet Union. The Department of Energy has invested $47 million since the program’s inception, and U.S. and Russian scientists have generated more than 230 peer-reviewed publications for the benefit of the international scientific community.
Under the Agreement, approximately 30 U.S. and 200 Russian scientists and technical personnel collaborate on six projects: three radiation dose reconstruction studies, two epidemiological studies, and a worker tissue repository. The projects focus on Mayak, one of Russia’s largest and oldest fissile material production facilities, and the communities surrounding the complex in the southern Ural mountains. Facility workers in the Mayak area have been exposed to radiation doses higher than their U.S. counterparts, who are exposed to levels that make it difficult to detect adverse health effects. Studying the health of Russian nuclear workers and people resident in nearby communities who have been exposed to radiation improves our understanding of the risks of employment in the nuclear industry and reinforces the importance of U.S. and global radiation protection standards and practices.