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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Belarus to scrap highly-enriched uranium stocks

RIA Novosti

13:24 01/12/2010 MOSCOW, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus announced it would eliminate its highly enriched uranium stocks before a nuclear security summit in South Korea in 2012, the country's Belta news agency said on Wednesday.

The decision was announced after a meeting between Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the OSCE summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

In April, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Belarus would not scrap its uranium stocks as they were under the protection of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The exact volumes of the Belarusian nuclear stocks are unknown. According to Lukashenko, there are "hundreds of kilograms of actually weapons-grade and low-enriched uranium."

The United States is ready to technically and financially assist Belarus in scrapping the nuclear reserves, Belta said.

Meanwhile, Russia on Wednesday opened the world's first low-enriched uranium centre in east Siberia, country's state nuclear corporation Rosatom said.

The Angarsk centre was created in partnership with Kazakhstan under an agreement with the IAEA. The uranium enrichment center is designed to enable countries, including Iran, to develop civilian nuclear technology without having to conduct their own enrichment activities.

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