FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 1996
NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS:
Amber Jones or Barbara Wetherell, 202/586-5806
DOE SECURES NUCLEAR MATERIAL IN BELARUS AND UZBEKISTAN, REDUCES RISK OF NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION
The Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it has completed upgrades at facilities in two former Soviet republics that will significantly advance the Clinton administration's nonproliferation goals of helping to secure and control nuclear materials.
Nuclear material control and accounting upgrades were installed at the Sosny Science and Technical Center in Belarus and the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences Institute of Nuclear Physics. The two sites are the latest facilities to complete the installation of nuclear materials protection, control and accounting upgrades under DOE's cooperative efforts with Russia, the Newly Independent States and the Baltics.
"Completing the upgrades in Belarus and Uzbekistan marks significant progress in reducing the nuclear danger worldwide," said Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary. "They will significantly reduce the risk of theft of bomb-grade materials at the facilities."
The institute in Uzbekistan houses research reactors that operate on highly enriched uranium. The technical center in Belarus contains a shut-down research reactor but still stores highly enriched uranium. The staff of the facilities worked closely with U.S. technical experts to design and install the systems. Sweden and Japan also contributed to the efforts in Belarus, and the United Kingdom contributed to the efforts in Uzbekistan.
DOE's Sandia, Los Alamos and Argonne National Laboratories participated in developing the safeguards, consistent with international standards. In addition to the Belarus and Uzbekistan projects, DOE experts are carrying out similar projects at over 40 locations in Russia, Kazakstan and Ukraine as part of the ongoing effort to reduce the nuclear danger worldwide. DOE completed security upgrades at the Academy of Sciences Nuclear Research Center in Latvia in March 1996.
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