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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 32, November 1998

Russian Nuclear Security Upgrades

'United States and Russia Join Forces to Increase Russian Nuclear Material Security,' US Department of Energy Press Release, 4 November 1998

"The United States and the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM) announced today the completion of upgrades to security systems protecting highly enriched uranium at two sites in Russia, and the grand opening of the Russian Methodological and Training Center (RMTC).

In cooperation with the Russian government, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has installed nuclear material protection technology and advanced material control and accounting systems at the State Research Institute, Scientific Industrial Association (Luch) and the Krylov Shipbuilding Institute (Krylov). Physical protection devices installed include motion detectors, cameras and vibration sensors placed in areas containing weapons-grade material at Luch and Krylov.

Ceremonies commemorating these events are taking place this week in Russia. Representatives of the Department of Energy and MINATOM are participating in the commissioning ceremonies.

The RMTC, a cooperative effort among Russia, the United States and the European Community, is the State central training center for nuclear material safeguards training in Russia located in Obninsk, 107 miles southwest of Moscow. The RMTC's grand opening ceremony is being held to celebrate the completion of the consolidated training academy covering the areas of nuclear materials protection, control and accounting.

'The completion of the security upgrades at Luch and Krylov to protect highly enriched uranium significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized use, theft, or diversion of nuclear materials,' said Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson. 'These efforts will help to ensure that all weapons-usable material in our two countries remains out of reach of terrorists and rogue States.'

The completion of the security upgrades at Luch and Krylov and the grand opening of the RMTC are three of the most recent accomplishments of the US-Russian nuclear material protection, control and accounting program (MPC&A).

Since 1994, DOE and MINATOM have been jointly working under the MPC&A program to improve the security of weapons-usable material at locations throughout Russia and the former Soviet Union. The MPC&A projects have secured tens of tons of weapons-usable nuclear material throughout Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, and Georgia by improving physical protection and material accounting systems.

To date, site-wide MPC&A upgrades have been completed at 19 sites throughout the former Soviet Union. Installation of upgrades continues at 34 remaining sites, which will result in improved protection of hundreds of additional tons of weapons-usable material from theft or diversion.

More information on MPC&A initiatives is available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.dp.doe.gov/nn/mpca'

Source: Text - US, Russia upgrade nuclear material security, United States Information Service, 5 November.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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