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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 26, May 1998

DOE-MinAtom Nuclear Security Arrangements

'United States and Russia Join Forces to Increase Russian Nuclear Material Security,' US Department of Energy (DOE) Press Release R-98-072, 26 May 1998


"The United States and the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MinAtom) yesterday announced the completion of upgrades at four Russian facilities that will help to secure and control nuclear materials, reducing the worldwide risk of nuclear proliferation. Representatives of the Department of Energy (DOE) and MinAtom, including DOE's Under Secretary Ernest Moniz and Director of Nonproliferation and National Security, Rose Gottemoeller, are holding commissioning ceremonies for the new security systems this week at each of the facilities.

Nuclear material protection, control and accounting (MPC&A) upgrades have been installed at:

  • the Sverdlovsk Branch of Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering and the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant in Zarechny;
  • the Pulse Research Reactor Facility at the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics in Snezhinsk; and
  • the Moscow State Engineering Physics Institute in Moscow.

'We look forward to building upon this important success in future cooperation between our governments to ensure that all weapons-usable material in both of our countries remains out of reach of terrorists and rogue states,' said Under Secretary Ernest Moniz. 'These upgrades significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized use, theft, or diversion.' The four sites are the latest facilities to complete the installation of nuclear MPC&A upgrades under DOE's cooperative efforts with Russia, the Newly Independent States and the Baltics.

The Department of Energy is installing advanced US material protection technology to increase security at these sensitive sites in conjunction with the Russian Federation. Physical protection devices, such as motion detectors, cameras, and vibration sensors have been placed in rooms containing weapons-grade material. Vibration sensors, placed on doors and walls, are necessary to prevent a determined thief from breaking into a room using a drill or heavy-duty saw. Doors and windows were hardened to delay intruders, and sensors and cameras were added to thwart theft or diversion of nuclear materials. At the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), a vehicle and personnel portal were upgraded to include a motorized vehicle gate and a vehicle entrapment area. The response force at BNPP and Sverdlovsk Branch of the Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering (SF-NIKIET) received upgraded radio communication equipment that allows them to communicate and respond more effectively. ..."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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