Green Week 2011 Day 3: NNSA Helps Former Nuclear Weapons Experts Transition to Green Technologies

Press Release
Apr 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is celebrating Earth Week with a special website highlighting “green” stories from around the enterprise. Each day, the NNSA Green Week website will focus on a different set of stories that highlight the connection between NNSA’s commitment to energy efficiency and its efforts to invest in the future, implement President Obama’s nuclear security agenda, and improve the way the enterprise does business.

Today’s Green Week 2011 feature highlights an NNSA nonproliferation program that successfully helped engage former weapons scientists on new, peaceful research projects. In one such project, former weapon scientists funded through NNSA’s Global Initiative for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP) helped bring to market new commercial biomass boilers that provide heat for agricultural enterprises, schools, and local communities in Ukraine.  Collaborations like this help accomplish one of President Obama’s major nonproliferation goals while also helping advance his energy and environmental agenda.

“By investing in the future of programs that help engage former weapon scientists in peaceful research, we are preventing the spread of nuclear expertise while also promoting research and development that brings new clean energy solutions to markets around the world,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “Through this program we are able to implement President Obama’s nuclear security agenda while developing cutting-edge green technologies.”

Through this program, experts from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Scientific Engineering Center Biomass Ltd (SEC Biomass) in Kyiv were able to utilize straw, wood wastes and crop residues to provide a renewable energy resource reducing dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. As a result of NNSA support, SEC Biomass has deployed three boilers to communities in the Ukraine. The boilers can achieve efficiency of more than 80 percent and can be scaled-up to 1MW providing an affordable and renewable source of energy.

NNSA’s GIPP program helps advance global nonproliferation efforts through collaborative research and development that applies the expertise of former weapons of mass destruction personnel to the development of civil-use technologies. To date, the GIPP program has engaged more than 17,000 experts (at least 60 percent with experience working with weapons of mass destruction) from more than 180 facilities in the former Soviet Union, Libya and Iraq. Since 1994, GIPP has partnered with more than 160 U.S. companies, multinational corporations and small innovative businesses to promote high-tech commercial research and development projects.    

To learn more about NNSA’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, visit the NNSA Green Week website at: http://nnsa.energy.gov/greenweek2011.

The FY 2012 budget request submitted to Congress requests $2.5 billion in FY 2012 and $14.2 billion over the next five years to reduce the global nuclear threat by detecting, securing, safeguarding, disposing and controlling nuclear and radiological material, as well as promoting the responsible application of nuclear technology and science.

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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 in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the 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.