March 4, 1996

Amber Jones, 202/586-5806

DOE Secures Nuclear Material in Latvia, Reduces Risk of Nuclear Material Proliferation

The Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it has completed security upgrades at the Latvian Academy of Sciences Nuclear Research Center, a significant step in advancing the Clinton administration's nonproliferation goals. The center is the first facility in the former Soviet Union and Baltic States to complete the installation of nuclear materials protection, control and accounting upgrades under a joint program with the United States.

"Completing the upgrades at the Latvian Academy of Sciences marks important progress in reducing the nuclear danger worldwide," said Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary. "Working cooperatively with the governments of the former Soviet and Baltic States to improve the security of weapons-usable nuclear materials is a key element in this effort."

DOE's Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories participated in developing the safeguards for the Latvian Academy of Sciences consistent with international standards. The physical protection and material control and accounting systems will significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized use, theft or diversion of weapons-usable nuclear materials at the Latvian facility, which houses a research reactor that operates on highly enriched uranium. The staff of the academy worked closely with U.S. technical experts to design and install the systems.

In addition to the work completed in Latvia, DOE experts are now working collaboratively at almost 40 locations in Russia and five other newly independent republics -- Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan -- as part of the ongoing U.S. effort to reduce the nuclear danger worldwide.

- DOE -