Two of the working groups within the joint U.S. – Russian commission established on Monday will have special interest for the cooperation in the Barents Region. The two goups will focus on nuclear energy and safety - and energy and environmental issues.
The joint presidential commission established during Barack Obama’s visit to Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow on Monday includes 13 working groups covering different areas of cooperation between U.S. and Russia.
Two of the working groups will cover topics where cooperation already have huge international attention in the Russian part of the Barents Region.
The new commission will be coordinated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The working group related to nuclear energy and safety will continue the Russian – U.S. cooperation started nearly two decades ago with decommissioning of strategic nuclear submarines and safeguarding of nuclear material no longer in active use, like weapons grade plutonium and spent nuclear fuel. The earlier cooperation was a part of the Gore – Chernomyrdin Commission in the 90ties. Several projects for nuclear safety and decommissioning of older strategic submarines took place in both Severodvinsk in the White Sea region and at the Nerpa shipyard on the Kola Peninsula. This working group will be headed by Sergei V. Kiriyenko, Head of Rosatom, and Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy.
The other working group of interest for the Barents Region is the energy and environment group. The U.S. will most likely be one of the main customers for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be exported from Teriberka facilities on the coast of the Kola Peninsula. Teriberka will be the landing site for the pipeline with natural gas from the enormous Shtokman field in the Barents Sea to be operating from 2014. This working group will be headed by Sergei I. Shmatko, Minister of Energy, and Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy.