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NNSA Trains Southeast Asian Nations In Nuclear Safeguards

June 27, 2008

Helps Equip Countries to Prepare for Civil Nuclear Power

WASHINGTON, D.C. - - The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) concluded a four-day workshop today at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for participants from Southeast Asia on nuclear safeguards, safety, and security challenges associated with the development of a civil nuclear power program.

"Understanding, developing, and implementing proper nuclear safeguards is an important part of any successful nuclear energy program," said NNSA's Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation William Tobey.  "This training also helps strengthen nonproliferation efforts around the world and reduce the likelihood of a nuclear accident."

Workshop attendees included officials from nuclear regulatory, research and energy agencies from Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Australia. Representatives from U.S. government agencies, Department of Energy national laboratories, and the International Atomic Energy Agency also participated.

Discussion at the workshop, which began on Monday, focused on the steps necessary to ensure the safe, secure, and sustainable implementation of civilian nuclear energy programs. Some of the issues covered included legal and regulatory frameworks, nuclear safeguards and security, nuclear safety and emergency response, human resources, and energy planning. Participants also had the opportunity to simulate the decision-making process involved in the introduction of nuclear power and to evaluate the results of their decisions.

NNSA, PNNL, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory held a similar workshop for North African countries earlier this year.  Since that workshop, delegations from NNSA and the national laboratories have visited the participating countries to help develop their human resource capability for civilian nuclear energy programs.

NNSA's Office of Nonproliferation and International Security provides technical infrastructure-related assistance through non-binding bilateral arrangements to states developing nuclear energy programs, pursuant to Article IV of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.  Next week will mark 40 years since the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty opened for signature, and NNSA continues to help the United States meet its obligations.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized 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.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371