Russia tells US it plans to close plutonium reactors ahead of schedule

Two of Russia's plutonium-producing reactors may be closed six months ahead of schedule within months, a major milestone in US nuclear nonproliferation efforts, a senior Energy Department official said Friday. The official said Sergey Kiriyenko, the director of Russia's nuclear agency, Rosatom, told Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman during a 40-minute meeting Friday that shutting down the two reactors in the Siberian town of Seversk so soon was a realistic plan. Bodman also was given assurances that a program to upgrade security at many of Russia's nuclear sites would be completed on schedule by the end of the year, and the Russians would act to ensure security improvements will be maintained into the future, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the exchange had not yet been announced.