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Release No: 434-03
June 19, 2003

United Kingdom Joins Arctic Environmental Cooperation

Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment Raymond F. DuBois will represent the United States at the multi-national principals meeting for the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation (AMEC), June 26-27, at the Old Royal Navy College, Greenwich, United Kingdom. A highlight of the meeting will be the formal induction of the United Kingdom into the Cooperation, joining current member countries Norway, Russia, and the United States. A signing ceremony will be held Thursday, June 26, at 6 p.m. GMT aboard the Russian warship Neustrashimiy ("Fearless") anchored in the Thames River, near Greenwich.

Joining DuBois at the ceremony will be Ivor Caplin, Esq., United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, who will sign the membership agreement on behalf of the United Kingdom. Other AMEC principals expected to attend include Gunnar Heloe, State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and acting Norwegian principal, and Maj. Gen. Alevtin Yunak of Russia.

Established in 1996 as a forum to address military-related environmental concerns in the Arctic, the Cooperation has developed technologies that minimize radioactive environmental contamination. A key focus for AMEC is to develop storage and treatment technologies to improve the decommissioning of Russian nuclear submarines and related facilities, a process that generates large volumes of solid radioactive waste. Without proper storage, the waste could release significant amounts of radiation into the environment.

As part of its work, AMEC developed a 40-ton storage and transport cask that is used to contain spent nuclear fuel, some of which was previously stored in an open-air setting. The cask’s success has led to mass production and use by the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program to store spent nuclear fuel from Russian ballistic missile submarines. Other AMEC developments include a solid radioactive waste treatment complex that will significantly improve the safety and security of Russian decommissioning efforts. All these efforts help to secure radioactive materials from otherwise unguarded locations and protect the environment.

Additional information on AMEC may be found at https://www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/Intl/AMEC/amec.html.

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