NNSA Sponsored International Meeting Promotes Nonproliferation Partnerships

Press Release
Oct 23, 2007

SPIEZ, SWITZERLAND - The U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in cooperation with the Swiss government, today concluded an international conference to promote partnerships that will address urgent nonproliferation and nuclear security issues. The two-day meeting in Spiez, Switzerland, attended by representatives from 15 countries, brought renewed attention to the need for enhanced global cooperation to strengthen nuclear security and combat nuclear proliferation.

"We appreciate the opportunity to work together with other countries to advance our common nonproliferation and international security goals. By partnering with more countries, NNSA can make even more progress in our efforts around the world to improve nuclear security and counter the threat of nuclear proliferation," said William Tobey, NNSA's deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation.

The meeting was attended by those who share NNSA's concerns and are contributing to the international effort to reduce the nuclear threat, including representatives from Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Science and Technology Center.

In presenting its broad portfolio of nuclear security and nonproliferation programs, NNSA, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, is seeking to build international partnerships and develop an integrated approach. Partnerships, through financial or in-kind contributions, will help streamline international nonproliferation efforts and provide greater efficiency. It also may help accelerate timelines for project completion, reduce the chance of project duplication and enable resources to be pooled in order to address larger projects that are challenging to fund individually.

The NNSA and State Department efforts to seek international support build upon already successful joint endeavors to engage the international community. NNSA has received support from many different countries, including more than $30 million in contributions from Canada, Finland, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to replace the last remaining weapons-grade plutonium production reactor with a fossil fuel plant in Russia. Canada and New Zealand also contributed a significant amount of funding to enhance border security in Ukraine. In addition, Canada is supporting the efforts to recover and secure radioisotopic thermoelectric generators (RTGs) in Russia.

Highlights of the conference included Canada's pledge to contribute $1 million (Canadian dollars) for the recovery, disassembly and disposal of RTGs along the northern sea route in Russia. In addition, the Czech Republic and Poland were specifically recognized for their recent in-kind contributions to nuclear nonproliferation, and the United Kingdom announced its interest in negotiating a memorandum of understanding with NNSA to support ongoing NNSA nonproliferation projects.

The meeting took place at the Spiez Laboratory, the Swiss Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical defense establishment, near Interlaken. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs was the primary host for this event.

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