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NNSA Encouraged by New Report on Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism
Dec 4, 2008

NNSA Encouraged by New Report on Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism



NNSA Encouraged by New Report on Prevention of WMD Proliferation and TerrorismReport Underscores Importance of NNSA Mission

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today welcomed the report of the commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.   The congressionally appointed commission in its report, "World at Risk," assessed U.S. programs and initiatives to prevent weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorism, and makes a number of recommendations to combat these threats.

"The National Nuclear Security Administration welcomes this report's emphasis on efforts to promote nuclear security and prevent WMD proliferation and terrorism," said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino.  "NNSA programs and people are on the ground everyday and around the world to advance efforts to combat WMD proliferation and terrorism."

With efforts underway in more than 100 countries across the globe, NNSA carries out a comprehensive program to detect, secure, and dispose of dangerous nuclear material, strengthen international nonproliferation efforts and regimes, eliminate weapons-usable nuclear material, engage former weapons scientists, and conduct cutting-edge research and development to maintain the U.S. national security and respond to today's nuclear proliferation threat.

The report calls for a reinvigorated nuclear non-proliferation agenda by strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with more authority and resources, developing and employing further counter-proliferation efforts, and working with Russia to secure its nuclear materials, expanding cooperative nuclear security programs to meet global threats, intensifying the use of multilateral initiatives such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, and forging a global consensus for a nuclear fuel bank.

These recommendations are largely consistent with programs and initiatives implemented by NNSA.  For example, NNSA is strengthening IAEA through financial and in-kind contributions totaling $18.7 million last year.  The Next Generation Safeguards Initiative is also underway utilizing NNSA's technical assets and international partnerships to strengthen international safeguards and help the IAEA address its complex and evolving mission as nuclear energy programs expand around the world.

Consistent with the report's  recommendations, NNSA is also increasing nuclear counter proliferation work around the world, focusing efforts on the following principles:  securing fissile material at its source as a "first line of defense" to prevent unauthorized access; detecting, interdicting, and deterring illicit trafficking as a "second line of defense"; and enhancing the security of civilian nuclear and radiological materials.  Recognizing the urgency of this mission, NNSA has accelerated these nonproliferation efforts, beginning with Russia and the Bratislava Nuclear Security Initiative, which will reach a major milestone this month completing extensive security upgrades in Russia.

The report also endorses efforts to engage "at-risk" nuclear experts, including efforts that NNSA implements to reduce the vulnerability of former WMD scientists to recruitment from rogue states or terrorist networks.

The report also asserted the need to maintain nuclear expertise in the national laboratories to help meet the future needs of the national security workforce.  Earlier this year, NNSA announced plans to leverage the scientific and technical capabilities of its workforce to meet the needs of evolving national security requirements for the future.

"I am encouraged by the findings of the report and its efforts to address future needs of the national security workforce.  NNSA's national security laboratories - Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – and the Nevada Test Site have world class scientists, engineers and capabilities that are national assets," said D'Agostino.  "To respond to the evolving 21st century global security threats, NNSA will bring our science, technology and engineering enterprise to bear on solving large, urgent national security challenges."

For information on how NNSA works to prevent WMD proliferation and terrorism, please visit http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/factsheets/preventingnuclearterrorism.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce 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 United States and abroad.

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