U.S., Russia Continue to Protect Nuclear Material in Russian Navy

U.S. Department of Energy Washington, D.C. October 2, 2000 Press Release U.S. ENERGY DEPARTMENT AND RUSSIAN NAVY COMPLETE SECURITY UPGRADES OF SUBMARINE SERVICE SHIP Commissioning Ceremony Near Murmansk Marks Continuing Cooperation The Department of Energy has announced the completion of security system enhancements on Russian Navy Ship PM-12, the second of three Russian Federation Navy submarine service ships scheduled for security upgrades through the department's Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. The Russian Navy is a major user of highly enriched uranium fuel which, if lost or stolen, could be processed for use in nuclear weapons. Representatives of the two governments held a commissioning ceremony for the new security system last Friday. "The physical protection of nuclear materials aboard these Russian Navy ships enhances our national security and global security," said Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson. "The extraordinary cooperation between the Department of Energy and the Russian Navy benefits the United States, the Russian Federation and the international community." During an August trip to the Russian Far East, Secretary Richardson signed an agreement with the Russian Federation Navy that outlines expanded future cooperation in the area of nuclear material security. On the visit, Secretary Richardson was granted unprecedented access to Russian submarine support facilities. The Russian Navy Ship project is a part of the cooperative efforts between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Russian Federation to prevent proliferation of nuclear materials that can be used in weapons of mass destruction. Russian Navy Ship PM-12 is based at Nerpa Shipyard, which is north of Murmansk, on the Kola Peninsula, along the northern Russian coastline. In addition to ship-based systems, upgrades were installed at specific shore locations where the ship may be docked. Work on upgrades began on Russian Navy Ship PM-12 in August 1998 and was completed on schedule. More information is available online at: Media Contact: Tamara Hamilton, 202/586-5806