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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 50, September 2000

US-Russia Naval Nuclear Materials Cooperation

'Secretary Richardson hails completed security upgrades at ceremony in Russian Far East,' US Department of Energy Press Release R-00-226, September 1, 2000.

"In Russia's Far East today, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson commissioned the completion of security upgrades at two Russian Navy nuclear fuel storage sites located near Vladivostok. The upgrades were designed by the US Department of Energy to provide better protection from theft or diversion of weapons-usable nuclear materials.

'The success of our joint cooperation here is further evidence that we can cooperate, no matter the sensitivity of the site, to achieve important results. Site 32, and Site 34, are models for the world in its pursuit of peace,' said Secretary of Energy Richardson.

The Secretary presented plaques and letters of commendation to those involved in significantly improving security of these nuclear materials. The naval sites involved are Site 32, which stores irradiated and damaged naval fuel, and Site 34, a large capacity facility able to hold tons of fresh naval fuel. The Russian Navy is a major user of highly enriched uranium fuel, that if stolen, could be processed for use in nuclear weapons.

Separately, security upgrades to a nuclear fuel service ship were commissioned in a separate ceremony near Vladivostok attended by other Energy Department officials on August 30.

On August 31, Secretary Richardson signed an agreement with the Russian Federation Navy that outlines expanded future cooperation in the area of nuclear material security. Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Kuroyedov signed on behalf of the Russian Federation.

This effort is a component of the Department of Energy's Material Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) Program, which seeks to reduce the threat of theft or diversion of weapons-usable nuclear material in Russia by cooperatively upgrading physical security and accountancy systems.

Since 1996, the Department of Energy has been cooperating with the Russian Federation Navy to upgrade the security of naval nuclear material. Security upgrades for a naval fuel storage site and security enhancements aboard a nuclear-powered service ship of the Northern Fleet were completed in September 1999."

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.