WASHINGTON, D.C. - Hundreds of sites and facilities containing enough nuclear warheads and materials for thousands of weapons have been secured by the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) through its work under the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction program. Marking the 15th anniversary since the program's inception, NNSA's head of nonproliferation, Deputy Administrator William Tobey, joined the measure's chief sponsors, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, on a trip to Russia to review work at several facilities where NNSA's security work has been completed or is ongoing.
"The United States has invested a tremendous amount of time, effort and money in working with Russia to ensure that, since the end of the Cold War, the Russian nuclear arsenal and infrastructure are secure from terrorists or rogue actors," said Tobey. "We are seeing the fruits of those efforts today with the enhanced security of materials, scientific expertise, facilities, ports and land borders. As our cooperation continues, we are working with our Russian counterparts to ensure that U.S. investments and the U.S.-Russian partnership will be sustained for the long term."
For over a decade, NNSA and its predecessors have had a critical and broad role in the threat reduction program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, working with the Russian Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) and other Russian agencies. NNSA cooperates with Russia and other former Soviet states to safeguard and secure nuclear weapons and materials to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
"We have a strong partnership with Russia and we will continue working with Rosatom and other Russian agencies to counter the global threats of terrorism and nuclear proliferation," Tobey said.
NNSA's major achievements in Russia under the program include:
During the visit to Russia, the Lugar and Nunn delegation reviewed some of the major security enhancements at the Luch and Mayak facilities.
At Luch, NNSA has helped to secure nuclear material and consolidate highly enriched uranium storage from 50 areas in 17 buildings to five areas within four buildings - an effort that significantly reduced the risk and security costs. The Luch facility has also downblended almost eight metric tons of Russian-origin fresh highly enriched uranium that was shipped by NNSA. Finally, the delegation saw firsthand NNSA's recent shipment of 8.8 kilograms of fresh highly enriched uranium that had been returned to Russia.
At Mayak, the delegation reviewed nuclear security upgrades and cooperation under transparency programs, including confirming that highly enriched uranium from Russian nuclear weapons is being downblended to low enriched uranium for purchase by U.S. nuclear power companies. Approximately 20 percent of U.S. electricity is produced by nuclear power, half of which is fueled by uranium from former Soviet weapons, making one in 10 U.S. light bulbs powered with this Russian former Russian weapons material.
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.
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