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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action D The Experience of Cooperation in Accounting, Control, and Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials Between the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the Department of Energy of the United States N. N. Yurasov, Vice Adm., R.F. Navy (ret.) Simultaneously with the establishment of nuclear security-challenged installations under the Russian Ministry of Defense in the 1950s and 1960s, the system of their security and defense was being created. The site safety requirements proceeded from threat assessments prevalent at that time and became obsolete, along with the deployed equipment, in the early 1990s. At the same time, organizational and structural changes in the armed forces under the conditions of insufficient deployment of technical measures of control and security at nuclear installations, growing social tensions, aggravation of the criminal environment, and emerging and escalating interethnic conflicts in the 1990s necessitated drastic changes in the methodology of security coverage at these sites. In addition, lapses in the physical security of nuclear materials were registered at numerous nuclear security-challenged installations during the same period. This called for the immediate introduction of additional solutions to prevent the theft or unsanctioned circulation of highly enriched uranium, plutonium, and other components potentially useful as weapons of mass destruction. However, the programs enacted with a view to providing elevated security measures at nuclear security-challenged installations have not been implemented in full because of extremely low levels of funding. Thus, for example, the funds assigned to the Ministry of Defense of Russia for the acquisition of physical security elements in 1996 could satisfy only 3 percent of the request submitted by the armed forces, preventing supplies of critical technical security equipment from reaching even the most pressing task areas. During that period the Navy faced an acute need to solve the task of providing modern equipment for accounting, control, and physical security for its nuclear security-challenged installations. The Navy Command was alert to the fact that procrastination in providing physical security for nuclear materials could result in grave consequences, with the impact of the damage far exceeding the costs of implementation of programs of accounting, control, and physical security of these materials. Under conditions of insufficient funding, a promising solution to the above-mentioned problem was presented through the use of funds allocated to Russia within the framework of U.S. assistance for the implementation of programs for the demolition and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. From the 1990s onwards, the establishment of an effective regime for physical security, accounting, and control of nuclear materials appeared to be one of the fundamental priorities in Russian-American nuclear cooperation. This program was geared to the upgrading and modernization of security systems at weapons-grade fissionable material storage facilities, as well as the production of modern accounting and control systems with a view to replacing traditional accounting methods and, in part, enabling operational supervision of movements of fissionable materials. In 1995, the Russian Navy and the Kurchatov Institute Russian Research Center (RRC) adopted a joint resolution on cooperation in the area of design and implementation of systems of accounting, control, and physical security of nuclear materials at the nuclear security-challenged Navy installations. This joint resolution was predicated by the need to replace obsolete physical security equipment with modern measures, as well as to create an up-to-date system of accounting and control of nuclear materials that would subsequently be incorporated into the nationwide nuclear material accounting system. RRC was chosen as the general contractor for the implementation of design projects to produce physical security systems at the Navy’s nuclear security-challenged installations. RRC was chosen on the basis of its long and productive cooperation with the Navy in the areas of design and research methodology in the operation of nuclear power plants, its experience with the training of highly qualified expert operators, its extensive international contacts, and its
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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action previous experience in organizing international cooperation in the sphere of accounting, control, and physical security with the U.S. Department of Energy. The activities to be implemented at naval installations included The development of a technical outline for and the design, production, and commissioning of a computerized system of accounting and control of nuclear materials; The development of a technical outline for and the design, production, and commissioning of physical security systems for land- and sea-based installations; The completion of normative documentation (methodology, instruction, and guidance manuals); The training of personnel assigned to operations for the systems described above; Assessment of the vulnerability at nuclear security-challenged installations; Construction work; and The design, development, production, and commissioning of communications systems to enable functioning physical security systems and the actions of security force units. The cooperation between the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the U.S. Department of Energy was commenced with the Joint Statement on Cooperation in the Area of Accounting, Control and Physical Security of Nuclear Materials, signed in Moscow in 1996 within the framework of the seventh session of the Russian-American Joint Commission on economic and technological cooperation (the Chernomyrdin-Gore Commission). This statement assigned the Kurchatov Institute RRC the role of coordinator of cooperative activities and fundraising for additional aid. The immediate funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy through its national laboratories (Sandia, Livermore, Oak Ridge, and Los Alamos, with the Pacific National Laboratory joining the program at a later date) within the framework of the joint Russian-American program for the nonproliferation of nuclear materials. The new cooperation program developed quite dynamically, accounting for tangible activities at Northern and Pacific Fleets, including Modern storage facilities for new nuclear reactors on nuclear submarines and surface ships have been constructed and commissioned, consistent with up-to-date nuclear and radiation safety requirements; systems of accounting, control, and physical security for these sites have been completed, along with construction of buildings that house security force units and service operators; Storage facilities for fresh and depleted nuclear fuel at three sea-based technical maintenance bases have been equipped with systems of accounting, control, and physical security; Communications systems for guard units have been purchased and deployed; Seven specialized vehicles for nuclear material transportation, seven escort vehicles, two buses for personnel, and a bulldozer have been received; Reaction force personnel have been issued body armor and helmets; Systems of physical security have been installed at storage facilities for depleted nuclear fuel, and TUK-18 transportation container loading units have been received; Buildings for guard units have been constructed, and physical security systems have been installed at special designated sites in the Okol’naya Inlet and nuclear submarine base Skalistii; and Feasibility studies for a projected coastal compound for unloading depleted nuclear fuel and dismantling nuclear submarines at the Kamchatka ship repair and maintenance facility have been completed. Meanwhile, the continuation and development of further cooperative efforts called for the drafting of a full-scale legal document. The joint statement was, to a great extent, a political declaration reflecting the general intents of the parties toward bilateral cooperation; it did not contain any legally binding clauses or specific directions for cooperative efforts and their coordinated mechanisms. Besides, continued realization of the joint program required mutually acceptable and coordinated methods and procedures for inspections of facilities to determine whether the assistance rendered had been appropriately applied. The American side has repeatedly raised the issue of granting extended access to various installations or individual buildings within installations to verify that the allocated funds have been appropriately applied. This situation was sensitive, as cooperative programs were implemented at the installations under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, whose secrecy regime requirements prohibit the access of outsiders, especially foreign nationals, to the installations. Contradictions of this nature could not have been completely resolved; but on a positive note, both sides always seemed willing to find mutually acceptable solutions and continued active cooperation, despite the serious problems encountered during the process. In part, these contradictions accounted for rather slow progress in the realization of the first Russian-American agreement in the area of accounting, control, and physical security of nuclear materials within the framework of the Nunn-Lugar program. In October 1999, Russian Federation Minister for Atomic Energy Yevgeniy Adamov and U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson signed a new intergovernmental agreement aimed at expanding bilateral cooperation within the framework of the program of accounting, control, and physical security of nuclear materials. The agreement stipulated the formation of the Joint Coordination
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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action Committee; its mission included the development of joint action plans, recommendations, and respective executive agreements. The committee was also designed as a forum for the arbitration of disagreements between the parties to the agreement. Russia agreed to take all necessary steps to provide permits to allow American representatives access to the facilities involved in the joint activities within the framework of the cooperation program. For their part in the realization of cooperation between the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the U.S. Department of Energy, the military construction organizations of the Ministry of Defense of Russia have performed and are performing all construction and assembly operations at the installations. The design and deployment of engineering and technical equipment, as well as the accounting and control systems, are being conducted exclusively by specialized Russian enterprises that have been granted by government licenses to perform these types of operations at nuclear sites and Ministry of Defense installations. Within the framework of the compliance procedures of the agreements on strategic offensive weapons reduction, it has been demonstrated to representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy that the work that has been completed, mostly at installations previously visited by American inspectors, and the targeted use of the allocated resources has been verified. In instances in which the access of foreign nationals to certain localities or structures is completely excluded, alternative mutually acceptable and coordinated procedures are being applied. In August 2000 the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the U.S. Department of Energy signed the Agreement on Cooperation in the Area of Accounting, Control and Physical Security of Nuclear Materials (the Agreement), according to the provisions of the 1999 Intergovernmental Agreement. The Agreement defines the principal obligations of the parties and guidelines for bilateral cooperation, including Upgrading of conditions for safe and reliable storage and transportation of nuclear materials; Maintaining efficient and continuous functioning of newly produced and modernized systems of accounting, control, and physical security of nuclear materials; Upgrading of physical security at land- and sea-based nuclear fuel storage facilities for the Northern and Pacific Fleets; Outfitting of a training center for personnel assigned to the areas of the accounting, control, and physical security of nuclear materials; and Development of systems of accounting, control, and physical security of nuclear materials at nuclear submarine bases, naval industrial enterprises, etc. Consequently, the framework of the Agreement’s implementation provides for cooperation not only in the development of up-to-date measures of physical security and their modernization but also in the maintenance of these systems in workable order, which is critically important for the Ministry of Defense of Russia under conditions of limited funding. Similar to the Intergovernmental Agreement, the Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) has been established as a policy-making body to develop joint action plans and mechanisms for their implementation, organize meetings for the evaluation of the progress that has been made in the realization of the Agreement, develop recommendations to the parties on the initiation of new projects, etc. The JCC adopts all decisions on the basis of consensus. The Agreement delineates the requirements for the personnel assigned to work on cooperation activities, as well as the rules associated with the acquisition of information. According to Article 5 of the Agreement, the American side has been granted the right to audit and inspect personnel training, equipment, materials, and services rendered within the framework of the Agreement, preferably at their locations or sites of application. To implement the Agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, the parties developed a memorandum of understanding on guarantees of the proper use of the assistance rendered (the memorandum). The memorandum delineates the general principles and approaches to the inspection procedures. The guarantees presume verification of the targeted use of assistance exclusively for implementation of the Agreement. According to the memorandum, as part of their verification activities, the American representatives Inspect the security challenges at a given site and evaluate the needs and requirements in the upgrade projects; Review the security systems upgrade process and verify that the work has been completed and that the equipment is functioning in compliance with the site upgrade project; and Verify that the proper technical services and maintenance operations are included in the scope of assistance rendered by the U.S. side. Specific methods used to demonstrate that the work has been completed have been developed and are described in greater detail in the Administrative Procedures of the Memorandum; They include Demonstration that the work at the installation receiving assistance has been completed; The inspection of documentation; The inspection of the equipment supplied; and The taking of photographs. In addition, the memorandum specifies the number of individuals who may be engaged in the verification operations, the general requirements for representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy and Ministry of Defense of Russia in the
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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action course of the inspections, and the American side’s obligations for the security of the information obtained from the inspections and provides for the development of a verification plan and timetable, etc. The plan and timetable for verification activities are coordinated and endorsed annually by the JCG cochairs. These specify the terms and methods of inspection of the assistance rendered for the current year. This allows, on the one hand, the installations’ work plans to be adjusted and for the installations to be prepared for the inspections beforehand and, on the other, improves the planning process for the supply of resources. Besides, for the first time within the framework of Russian-American cooperation in the area of the physical security of nuclear materials, both sides employed annual planning as a mechanism of ensuring mutual agreement on the requirements, priorities, and responsibilities in the process of inspection of the assistance rendered. All of the documents described above have been developed and signed with the American side and legally confirm the forms and methods of inspections of the assistance rendered without giving the U.S. representatives the right to access the installations of the Ministry of Defense of Russia. A positive example here is the fact that up-to-date measures of physical security have been deployed at one of the first installations under General Directorate 12 (GD 12) without access of U.S. Department of Energy representatives to the site. Thus, inspections of the assistance rendered within the framework of the Agreement utilize principles of annual planning and other verification methods, which allow for a considerable increase in the degree of mutual trust in the process of cooperation. The approaches and methods of inspections of the assistance rendered that have been developed within the framework of the Agreement’s implementation have shown positive results and have been used for the development of similar inspection procedures within the framework of implementing the 1995 Agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense on cooperation in the area of secure storage of nuclear weapons by means of supplying materiel, services, and respective training, and of the 2003 agreement that is slated for implementation with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany on cooperation in the area of providing physical security for nuclear materials and nuclear weapons. The deployment of modern physical security equipment at nuclear security-challenged installations of the Ministry of Defense of Russia within the framework of bilateral cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy is being carried out in compliance with state-of-the-art requirements for site security. Instead of focusing on site perimeter as the key element of the defense system, these requirements emphasize security for certain buildings, depots, and premises on the guarded territory, while the perimeter of the installation as a whole is guarded. The process of physical security systems upgrade begins with a site vulnerability assessment, followed by project development and so-called fast upgrades of physical security systems. Full-scale upgrades include the assembly of physical security systems by the use of state-of-the-art technical detection and security systems, as well as control instruments manufactured domestically that have been certified and commissioned. Engineering systems at checkpoints and installation perimeters are designed to withstand terrorist group attacks. Access zones at checkpoints are equipped with antipenetration barriers and sensors for the detection of nuclear materials, metal items, and explosives; the guards at pedestrian entry points are placed behind bulletproof glass; and the perimeters are augmented with security roads, ditches, reinforced fencing, etc. Centralized site security command and control centers are being set up. Guard units and reaction force personnel are issued state-of-the-art communications equipment. Special emphasis is placed on providing security for nuclear materials during transport, during loading and unloading, and at points in between. Currently, the implementation of the Agreement involves not only naval installations but also those of the Special Missile Forces (SMF) and GD 12 of the Ministry of Defense. Storage facilities for fresh and depleted nuclear fuel, guard buildings, vehicle inspection stations, armored vehicle boxes for reaction forces, control access buildings, armored installation defense points, armored guard towers, modular diesel generator units, and up-to-date physical security equipment have been constructed and commissioned at 18 installations of the Ministry of Defense of Russia. Similar work is in progress at 12 more sites under the Navy, SMF, and GD 12; and construction of the Kola training technical center is nearing completion. In addition, fast upgrades of physical security systems have been completed at 23 naval installations; fast upgrades at 7 SMF sites are under contract. Guard units and reaction forces at all installations under the Ministry of Defense have been equipped with body armor and helmets; radio communications systems have been deployed for the operational interaction of these units. Thirty armored vehicles for site defense have been purchased, and snow removal equipment has been provided. The U.S. Department of Defense allocates funding for technical maintenance of physical security systems at fully commissioned installations. Service personnel who work with the physical security systems undergo routine training; instructors at the Kola training technical center take professional courses to upgrade their skills. The development of physical security systems and the utilization of radioisotope-based thermoelectric generators with subsequent deployment of alternative power sources has begun. As indicated above, the cooperation process was developing in a positive direction from the very beginning because of special attention displayed by the leadership of the U.S. Department of Energy on one side and the Russian Navy and Ministry of Defense in its entirety on the other. In this
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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action context, U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of Energy Rose Gottemoeller and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Fleet Admiral V. Kuroyedov have actively supported the cooperation effort. In 2003, the U.S. Secretary of Energy praised the results of the bilateral cooperation, having said that a tangible sector of the Navy and SMF installations has been equipped with up-to-date physical security systems. As of December 2004, overall funding for the development of modern physical security systems and systems of accounting and control of nuclear materials exceeded US$300 million. Cooperation in this area has also received the highest marks from the Government Accountability Office of the U.S. Congress, and U.S. senators and representatives, who, together with technical experts, have witnessed the actual results of bilateral cooperation. At the same time, today it can be said with assurance that high-quality results have been achieved because of the cooperation and organizational efforts that were achieved from the very start of the process by both the Russian and the American sides. Many of those who started work on these systems back in 1996 continue to work on them today. This process has created a nucleus of like-minded individuals who have built the foundations of today’s cooperation based on mutual trust.
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