On September 26, Secretary Clinton signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Gryshchenko on nuclear security cooperation. This Memorandum of Understanding formalizes the shared intent of the United States and Ukraine to implement fully the commitment that President Obama and President Yanukovych undertook at last year’s Nuclear Security Summit to work together to prevent proliferation and to secure all vulnerable nuclear material. President Yanukovych announced Ukraine’s decision to get rid of all of its stocks of highly enriched uranium by March 2012, when the next Nuclear Security Summit will convene.
The United States undertook to provide Ukraine with financial and technical assistance to help with elimination of the highly enriched uranium and to modernize Ukraine’s civil nuclear research facilities. The United States is assisting with the conversion of those facilities to operate on safer, low enriched uranium fuel and is building a state-of-the-art neutron source facility in Ukraine. In addition to new research capabilities, the neutron source facility will be able to produce over 50 different medical isotopes to treat cancer and other diseases. The facility will be equipped with the most up-to-date technology to ensure that it operates at the highest safety standards. The United States is committed to meet all agreed milestones for construction of the neutron source facility by March 2012 and to provide a fully operational facility by 2014. The estimated total value of the financial and technical assistance to be provided by the United States is expected to exceed $60 million.
We have already made significant progress toward these shared goals. Ukraine has already rid itself of a substantial portion of its highly enriched uranium and expects to complete the process early next year; the United States has made substantial progress on the neutron source facility project and expects a ground-breaking in Ukraine in the coming months. Cooperation with Ukraine on this matter is an important part of President Obama’s initiative to secure all vulnerable nuclear material worldwide.
This deal is a win-win. It provides tangible benefits for the people of Ukraine, and it makes the world a safer place to live for all people.