NNSA Kicks Off Next Generation Safeguards Initiative

Press Release
Sep 9, 2008

NNSA Kicks Off Next Generation Safeguards InitiativeWashington, D.C. Meeting to be Held September 11-12

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today the kickoff of the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI), which will promote the strengthening of nuclear safeguards worldwide to help ensure the safe, secure and peaceful implementation of civil nuclear energy programs.  NGSI will leverage NNSA's technical assets and international partnerships in an effort to revitalize the international technology and human resource base dedicated to nuclear safeguards, which protect against proliferation.

"Effective nuclear safeguards are the most important means for ensuring states meet their international nonproliferation commitments," said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation William Tobey.  "With the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative, we will promote the development of technical capabilities and human resources to ensure that the safeguards system can grow to meet new proliferation challenges as we prepare for global nuclear energy expansion."

The United States is the largest contributor of safeguards technology and personnel to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is the international body responsible for monitoring and verifying nuclear nonproliferation compliance around the world.  However, IAEA capabilities are under increasing strain, requiring an expanded commitment by the United States and its partners to close gaps and ensure confidence in the safeguards system.

NGSI will help the IAEA address its complex and evolving mission by focusing on the revitalization and strengthening of the U.S. technology base.  The initiative will promote the development of new and more efficient safeguards tools and technologies and will work to attract new experts to the field from a variety of technical disciplines.  NNSA will work closely with international partners to ensure that the IAEA has the resources, the tools and the people it needs to carry out its mission.

In an effort to advance these objectives and engage international partners in the initiative, NNSA will host an international meeting on September 11-12, with representatives from 14 foreign governments and the IAEA in Washington D.C., featuring remarks by U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and U.S. Senator Richard Lugar.  Meeting participants will examine challenges to the safeguards systems and begin to outline an agenda for cooperation to meet anticipated safeguards needs.

In addition, NNSA is making publicly available a previously non-public report on "International Safeguards: Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century," which examines current and future challenges of the international safeguards system and identifies new capabilities and resources that the IAEA and other key organizations and institutions will need to address these challenges.  The report is available online. 

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.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371