MURMANSK, RUSSIA – On December 18, near Murmansk in the far north of the Russian Federation, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Linton Brooks represented the U.S. government at a commissioning ceremony marking the completion of security upgrades at two Russian Navy nuclear sites.
Working with colleagues from the Kurchatov Institute and the Russian Navy, the project team from NNSA designed and oversaw the implementation of upgrades to improve the protection of the nuclear areas against the risk of theft by terrorists. Brooks also presented plaques to the commanders of the sites in recognition of the outstanding performance by Russian Northern Fleet personnel who took part in these cooperative projects.
Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham praised the effort as yet another step in U.S.-Russian cooperation on security and nonproliferation matters. "The Bush Administration continues to put nonproliferation high on its list of concerns and priorities," Abraham said. "As Russia and the United States continue working on nonproliferation priorities like this, we strengthen U.S. security and make the world a safer place."
An important mission of NNSA is to reduce the threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons by working cooperatively with Russia to upgrade the security of nuclear facilities. Since 1997, NNSA has worked with the Russian Federation Navy to reduce this threat and these cooperative efforts achieved another milestone this week.
"I am very impressed with the quality of work and the dedication of the people involved. They are making a huge difference in tackling the problem of under secured nuclear sites. This location is only one small part of a massive cooperative effort to improve material protection and control at storage and handling sites, and we will continue working with the Russians on securing these sensitive locations," Brooks said after the ceremony.
In recent years, Russian authorities have said they have interdicted hostile groups conducting surveillance on Russian Navy nuclear facilities. NNSA has completed security upgrades at 30 of 39 Russian Navy nuclear sites. Due to acceleration efforts post-September 11 2001, the security work with the Russian Navy will be completed in 2006, two years ahead of schedule.
NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency of the Department of Energy. It enhances U.S. national security through the military application of nuclear energy, maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, promotes international nuclear nonproliferation and safety, reduces global danger from weapons of mass destruction, provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion, and oversees its national laboratories to maintain U.S. leadership in science and technology.
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