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NNSA Notes Major Achievements on 15th Anniversary Of Cooperative Threat Reduction Program

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:

  • Securing hundreds of nuclear warheads at more than 75 percent of the Russian warhead sites of concern and 160 buildings containing hundreds of metric tons of weapons-usable nuclear material with work underway at the balance of sites to be completed by 2008.
  • Providing nearly 600 security-enhanced trucks, railcars, and "over pack" cases for nuclear material shipments.
  • Adopting a joint sustainability plan with Rosatom outlining specific requirements (e.g., regulatory, training, maintenance, inspections) to ensure the long-term viability of nuclear security upgrades.
  • Equipping over 100 sites with radiation detection equipment at Russian borders, airports and seaports, and reaching an agreement to share the cost and work load for the balance of the 350 official international border crossings.
  • Training over 2,000 individuals at 40 workshops for state-controlled and private enterprises and institutes on export control compliance of nuclear dual-use technologies.
  • Assisting Rosatom in the establishment of two laboratories designed to provide export control technical support, including training and commodities identification.
  • Engaging over 16,000 weapons scientists and engineers and helping to create over 5,000 sustainable civilian jobs for former weapons personnel.
  • Helping to create or expand 60 businesses in closed Russian nuclear cities, and commercializing over 32 technologies that generated over $52 million in commercial sales.
  • Transferring all highly enriched uranium from the Krylov Shipbuilding Research Institute in St. Petersburg to the Research Institute of Advanced Reactors in Dimitrovgrad for secure storage and downblending.
  • Converting hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, thereby eliminating it as a proliferation threat, including 10 metric tons (roughly 400 nuclear weapons) for use in Russian nuclear power reactors, and monitoring the conversion of over 300 metric tons (roughly 12,000 nuclear weapons) of Russian weapons-origin highly enriched uranium for use in U.S. nuclear power reactors.
  • Removing, returning and securing Russian-origin nuclear material from nine countries in 13 shipments of "fresh" fuel and four shipments of "spent" fuel, and 130 radioisotopic thermoelectric generators that contain large quantities of dirty bomb materials, totaling more than 500 kilograms (approximately 20 nuclear weapons) of highly enriched uranium.
  • Refurbishing and building heat and electricity plants in closed Russian nuclear cities to ensure the shutdown of the last three weapons-grade plutonium production reactors, which produce approximately 1.2 metric tons of plutonium annually.
  • Recovering approximately 400,000 Curies of radiological sources from 28 locations (enough material for over 400 dirty bombs).
  • Securing approximately 6 million Curies of radiological sources at 12 Russian storage facilities (enough material for over 6,000 dirty bombs).

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.

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