Progress Continues on Securing Russian Nuclear Sites
WASHINGTON, D.C .– U.S. and Russian officials today concluded a four-day meeting to discuss continued progress on nuclear nonproliferation and security work under the U.S.-Russia Bratislava Nuclear Security Initiative. During the meeting, officials from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Rosatom confirmed that nuclear security upgrades at Russian sites are on schedule for completion by the end of 2008.
"We continue to make progress in our joint efforts with Russia to detect, secure and dispose of dangerous nuclear material," Deputy Administrator William Tobey said in Washington. "We are working hard to ensure that the security upgrades that we are completing are sustained in the future, and that a strong security culture is maintained."
At this week's meeting in Cairo, NNSA and Rosatom officials reviewed detailed project schedules and progress in other areas such as training, inspections, guard forces, nuclear security regulations development, secure transportation of nuclear materials, and security culture.
The two sides discussed specific strategies for expediting work and avoiding delays, in particular strengthening control of contract implementation schedules and sending senior Rosatom management to sites to ensure that work remains on track to meet the 2008 Bratislava-scope deadlines. NNSA officials also outlined plans for Russia to assume responsibility for funding and sustaining security upgrades beginning in 2013.
NNSA's Material Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) Program works in the Russian Federation, the former Soviet Union, and other countries to secure potentially vulnerable nuclear weapons and weapons-usable materials by upgrading security at nuclear sites, consolidating these materials to fewer sites with existing enhanced security systems, and improving nuclear smuggling detection capabilities at border crossings.
U.S.-Russian nuclear security has been a top priority for Presidents Bush and Putin, and the two announced the Bratislava Nuclear Security Initiative in 2005 in which the United States and Russia committed to accelerating the completion of security upgrades at Russian nuclear facilities by the end of this year. The two Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to nuclear security in Sochi, Russia on April 6. To date, NNSA has completed security upgrades at more than 85 percent of Russian nuclear weapons sites of concern. This week's discussion focused on efforts to complete similar upgrades on the balance of sites.
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 U.S. and abroad.
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