April 13th, 2007 08:38 EST
U.S. & Russia Agree to Sustain Security Upgrades at Nuclear Material Facilities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. and Russian officials have agreed to a plan that will help to sustain and maintain security upgrades at Russian nuclear material sites, according to the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Security enhancements that the United States installed over the last 14 years at Russian nuclear sites will be preserved by Russia under the new plan.
“Ensuring that our improvements to security at Russian nuclear facilities are maintained is critical. This agreement will help to protect the security investments that we have made in Russia and, most importantly, it should ensure that the nuclear material is secure and protected over the long-term,” said William Tobey, head of NNSA’s nuclear nonproliferation programs.
Under its Material Protection Control and Accounting program, NNSA has been working throughout Russia to upgrade security and accounting measures at sites with weapons-usable nuclear material, and locations that store and deploy nuclear warheads. NNSA improves physical security at Russian sites by installing security systems, training personnel and enhancing infrastructure. NNSA also ensures that measures are implemented to control and account for the weapons, the material and the personnel in charge.
The plan by NNSA and Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) outlines specific details for how the upgrades will be sustained so that they can be transitioned to sole Russian support for the future, as mandated by U.S. law. It covers sustainability at nuclear material sites. Separate discussions are currently underway to sustain the work performed at sites with nuclear weapons.
“Russia has a large economy, a growing nuclear industry and is our partner in combating nuclear terrorism. This joint sustainability plan is an important step forward in our cooperation and builds on our partnership with Russia to secure global stockpiles of nuclear material,” said Tobey.
Since 1993, NNSA’s programs have spent approximately $1.6 billion in Russia to enhance security for several hundreds of nuclear warheads and hundreds of metric tons of nuclear material at approximately 75 percent of Russia’s nuclear material storage and warhead sites of concern. This includes all 50 of Russia’s Navy nuclear sites, 11 of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces sites and over 175 buildings within the Russian nuclear complex. Work is underway at the balance of sites and will be completed by 2008.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad. Visit www.nnsa.doe.gov for more information.
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