The Trump administration has barred the participation of US government technical experts on nuclear energy from attending a major international conference in Russia. The conference, co-sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ROSATOM, the Russia state atomic energy corporation, began today in the city of Ekaterinburg.
Preventing US government scientists from delivering scheduled talks at an IAEA conference is highly unusual. This decision is apparently a consequence of the deteriorating relationship between the US and Russia. I learned about this when I arrived at the conference today to find that I was one of only a handful of US participants, out of several hundred attendees.
With so many communication channels between the U.S. and Russia now cut off, it is essential to preserve scientific cooperation in areas where there is common ground between the two countries. The Trump administration’s action is inconsistent with this goal.