WASHINGTON, D.C. - In the past two years, a key nuclear nonproliferation program of the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has removed more than eight nuclear weapons worth of highly enriched uranium, and secured more than 400 radiological sites around the world containing over 6 million curies - enough for approximately 6,000 "dirty bombs."
NNSA marks the two-year anniversary of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, or GTRI, on Friday. This program works with partners around the world to reduce the threat posed by high-risk, vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials, which could be used by terrorists to make a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb.
"The Global Threat Reduction Initiative is an important part of the President's 2006 National Security Strategy to protect Americans," Linton F. Brooks, the head of NNSA, said. "In just two years, GTRI has worked with our international allies to significantly step up international efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials. The Bratislava agreement between Presidents Bush and Putin has accelerated our efforts to keep dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorists."
GTRI is part of NNSA's multi-layered strategy to decrease the risk of nuclear terrorism. It is focused on identifying, securing, removing and/or disposing of high-risk, vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials - as quickly and expeditiously as possible - that pose a potential threat to the United States and the international community.
Highlights of GTRI's progress during the past two years include:
- Removing over 200 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from facilities worldwide that could have been used to make an improvised nuclear device;
- Recovering and securing more than 2,700 excess and unwanted radiological sources located within the United States;
- Converting three research reactors from the use of highly enriched uranium, which can be used in a nuclear weapon, to the use of low enriched uranium; and
- Installing and upgrading physical security at more than 400 sites around the world where vulnerable radiological sources are stored.
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. 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 U.S. and abroad.
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