Epilogue

In the long term, meticulous control and protection of weapon-usable material in Russia is critical for world security. Over the past decade, the Russian and U.S. governments have engaged in unprecedented cooperation in this highly sensitive area and have supported important steps to help secure this material. Now, as the technological sophistication of terrorist groups operating in Russia and elsewhere increases, it is more important than ever that the United States and Russia achieve their goals for the security of weapon-usable material and transfer full responsibility to Russia for protecting its own material.

Ensuring the security of weapon-usable material is a complex process. It requires knowledgeable and dedicated personnel at the national and facility levels; effective materials protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) procedures that are routinely enforced; performance testing programs; incentives to report problems and take corrective actions; and programs to emphasize and reinforce best practices.

While there has been considerable progress in these areas as a result of the U.S.-Russian cooperative program, a number of challenges remain. Among U.S. and Russian experts, there remain different perceptions of the threat to Russian nuclear facilities posed by theft of material. Further, the Russian legal, regulatory, technology, and training infrastructures for supporting modern MPC&A systems are not fully developed. And there is hesitation both in Moscow and Washington to reorient cooperative endeavors of the past decade away from a technical assistance model toward genuine partnership.



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OCR for page 47
Strengthening Long-Term Nuclear Security: Protecting Weapon-Usable Material in Russia Epilogue In the long term, meticulous control and protection of weapon-usable material in Russia is critical for world security. Over the past decade, the Russian and U.S. governments have engaged in unprecedented cooperation in this highly sensitive area and have supported important steps to help secure this material. Now, as the technological sophistication of terrorist groups operating in Russia and elsewhere increases, it is more important than ever that the United States and Russia achieve their goals for the security of weapon-usable material and transfer full responsibility to Russia for protecting its own material. Ensuring the security of weapon-usable material is a complex process. It requires knowledgeable and dedicated personnel at the national and facility levels; effective materials protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) procedures that are routinely enforced; performance testing programs; incentives to report problems and take corrective actions; and programs to emphasize and reinforce best practices. While there has been considerable progress in these areas as a result of the U.S.-Russian cooperative program, a number of challenges remain. Among U.S. and Russian experts, there remain different perceptions of the threat to Russian nuclear facilities posed by theft of material. Further, the Russian legal, regulatory, technology, and training infrastructures for supporting modern MPC&A systems are not fully developed. And there is hesitation both in Moscow and Washington to reorient cooperative endeavors of the past decade away from a technical assistance model toward genuine partnership.

OCR for page 47
Strengthening Long-Term Nuclear Security: Protecting Weapon-Usable Material in Russia These challenges are slowly being addressed. The committee believes that the recommendations set forth in this report will help preserve the successful approaches of the past decade and will assist in the adoption of improved approaches to achieve a sound, Russian-directed MPC&A program. The MPC&A program in Russia must succeed. The security of Russia’s weapon-usable material is an imperative for Russia, for the United States, and for the world.