NNSA Launches Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute to Promote Nuclear Safety and Security

Press Release
Feb 22, 2011

ABU DHABI, UAE – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today with the Department of State announced the creation of a new Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII) at the Khalifa University of Science, Technology, and Research in Abu Dhabi. The Institute will strengthen nuclear energy security, safeguards, and safety infrastructure development throughout the Gulf.

Today’s announcement comes a week after President Obama submitted to Congress the Administration’s FY 2012 budget request, which includes $2.5 billion in FY 2012 and $14.2 billion over the next five years to enhance global efforts to detect, secure, safeguard, dispose of and control nuclear and radiological material around the world. That request includes $53 million to support nuclear safeguards and security and the development of infrastructure, like GNEII, to sustain and strengthen the international safeguards system.

"Creating strong international partnerships that promote a culture of safety, security and safeguards and provide future decision-makers with expert training in nonproliferation is an important part of implementing the President's nuclear security agenda,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “The creation of GNEII is a perfect example of the sort of partnerships that help implement the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit goals by strengthening domestic regulatory capacity in countries pursuing nuclear energy programs.”

NNSA, along with the U.S. Department of State, Sandia National Laboratories, Texas A&M University, Khalifa University, and local partners in the United Arab Emirates launched GNEII in response to the Gulf region’s growing interest and investment in nuclear power. The United States and United Arab Emirates formalized this initiative by signing a letter of intent on March 17, 2010, to develop the GNEII curriculum, training facilities, and plans for achieving self-sufficiency within five years.

GNEII initially will be open to participants from three Emirati nuclear-related organizations but will expand to the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries next year.  It will provide both classroom instruction and hands-on experience to strengthen regional nuclear energy security, safeguards, and safety infrastructure.

GNEII was developed with NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS) which works to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by strengthening the nonproliferation, nuclear security and arms control regimes. NIS provides leadership in the formulation and implementation of U.S. nonproliferation, nuclear security, and arms control strategies. NIS draws on and contributes to a wide range of technical resources within the U.S. National Laboratory complex, working in concert with international organizations and more than 70 countries.

Last week, President Obama requested $161.8 million for NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, an increase of 3.8 percent over the FY 2011 budget request.

For more information on NNSA’s work in nonproliferation, click here.

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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.