U.S. and Morocco Celebrate 15 Years of Successful Nonproliferation Cooperation

Press Release
Mar 24, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – This week marks the 15th anniversary of successful cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear technology between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Morocco.  The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), through Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and the Morocco National Center for Nuclear Energy, Sciences and Techniques (CNESTEN) began their collaboration in 1994, recognizing the need to promote cooperation in the civil uses of nuclear technology and nonproliferation.

"This anniversary highlights a very successful partnership," said Ken Baker, NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.  "From the beginning, Morocco embarked on a transparent nuclear energy program and strived to meet and exceed all international nonproliferation obligations.  With technical assistance from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United States, France and other partners, Morocco continues to be a model for establishing a responsible nuclear energy program."

Over the past 15 years, NNSA's International Nuclear Safeguards and Engagement Program (INSEP) and Morocco's CNESTEN have engaged in activities such as radioactive waste management, environmental monitoring, emergency management, and research reactor operations.  CNESTEN also recently decided to develop with NNSA an international training center on peaceful nuclear science and technology applications in Rabat, which NNSA plans to support as a focal point in North Africa for sharing nonproliferation best practices.

"We have developed an outstanding rapport with our counterparts at NNSA over the last 15 years, but I have to emphasize that it was not only about technical exchanges, but also about building honest, sincere and straightforward relationships," said CNESTEN Director General Dr. Khalid El Mediouri.  "We have benefited tremendously from this program which contributed to better training and preparation for the future of our staff, mainly from working side by side with our counterparts either in the U.S. National Laboratories and universities or at our laboratories and classrooms in Morocco.  It has been a fulfilling and gratifying journey."

NNSA's INSEP collaborates with international partners to strengthen safeguards at all stages of nuclear development.  Through technical engagements between personnel from the U.S. national laboratories and their foreign counterparts, INSEP plays a key role in global efforts to ensure that nuclear energy is used only for peaceful purposes. 

In addition to this work, NNSA has worked with the Government of Morocco through the Global Threat Reduction Initiative to install enhanced security systems at nine facilities in Morocco that contain large civilian-use radiological sources.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise.  NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371