Administrator Highlights NNSA Role in Implementing Prague Agenda During Visit to the Czech Republic

Press Release
Jun 18, 2010

PRAGUE – During a visit to the Czech Republic today, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Thomas P. D’Agostino highlighted the role NNSA plays in implementing the historic nuclear security agenda President Obama outlined in Prague. In an April 2009 speech in Prague, President Obama outlined an ambitious agenda to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years, calling the danger of a terrorist acquiring nuclear weapons "the most immediate and extreme threat to global security." One year later, President Obama returned to Prague with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to sign the New START Treaty, under which the United States and Russia agreed to reduce their arsenals of deployed strategic nuclear warheads by 30 percent.

Meeting today with Czech media at the library of the American Center near the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Administrator D’Agostino outlined the steps NNSA has taken around the world to secure vulnerable nuclear material, deter and detect illicit transfers of nuclear and radiological materials, and dispose of excess nuclear and radiological materials.

“I am proud of the important work NNSA and its partners around the world are doing to secure vulnerable nuclear material and keep it out of the hands of terrorists and smugglers,” said D’Agostino. “The agenda outlined by President Obama here in Prague is a core part of NNSA’s national and international security mission. We take our commitment to promoting nuclear security around the world very seriously and are grateful to the more than 100 countries that have partnered with us to improve global security.”

Through its Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Program, NNSA plays a critical role in implementing President Obama’s Prague agenda. Leveraging the equipment and technical expertise developed as a result of our 60 year investment in nuclear security, NNSA works in more than 100 countries to prevent nuclear terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. NNSA works with its international partners to detect, secure, safeguard, and dispose of nuclear and radiological materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction related equipment

Since President Obama’s speech, NNSA has accelerated and expanded many of its nuclear nonproliferation programs. NNSA has removed or disposed of 613 kilograms of nuclear weapons-usable highly enriched uranium fuel and plutonium (enough for over 24 nuclear weapons) from 12 countries. This included the complete removal of all weapons-usable HEU from five countries.

In order to minimize the use of HEU in civilian nuclear energy programs, NNSA has worked with other countries since the President's Prague speech to shut down or convert nine research reactors that were using HEU.

To prevent terrorists from acquiring materials that could be used in a so-called “dirty bomb,” since April 2009 NNSA has recovered approximately 3,770 radiological sources containing more than 58,000 decayed curies.

As part of our global campaign to strengthen international capabilities to deter, detect, and interdict nuclear smuggling, in 2009 NNSA upgraded physical security at more than 185 vulnerable buildings around the world that contained high-priority nuclear and radioactive material, and installed radiation detection equipment at nine major container seaports and 102 international border crossings, airports, and feeder seaports.

For a photo gallery from NNSA Administrator D’Agostino’s visit to Prague, click here offsite link.

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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.