Secretary Chu wrapped up his week-long visit in Russia today with a special visit to the All Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF). Many consider it to be the Russian equivalent of our Los Alamos National Laboratory.
VNIIEF, located in Sarov, has a long scientific tradition in Russia, beginning when it was established in 1946 to design nuclear weapons. It’s also where the first Soviet nuclear bomb, the “RDS-1,” was created. Today, it is the largest Russian organization handling defense, scientific and economic research.
The Russian lab has been working on several international collaboration efforts over recent decades, including a series of projects with the United States. And while cooperating on nuclear security issues with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has been among the top goals of these joint efforts, other projects include ultra-high power explosive magnetic generators, high energy density physics and controlled fusion.
During his visit, the Secretary joined VNIIEF scientists and administrators in celebrating the lab’s 65th Anniversary, which it reached in April. He also spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the lab’s new Material Protection Control and Accounting training facility, which is part of a joint program between our two countries to reduce the global nuclear threat.
“This MPC&A training center speaks highly to the results we can achieve when our countries work together to address our nuclear security challenges. Truly, our partnership provides a model for the rest of the world and for the future of international cooperation in nuclear safeguards and security,” Secretary Chu said.
MPC&A facilitates the Obama Administration's goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material worldwide in the next four years. Addressing nuclear material security weaknesses at the source, the program works with international partners to secure nuclear weapons and materials to keep them out of the hands of terrorists.
Secretary Chu was treated to a civil technologies demonstration, a tour of security upgrades implemented through the MPC&A cooperation, a presentation by the Institute of Physics of Explosion, and met several of the Russian scientists working at the facility.
“As an American having lived through the Cold War, the fact that we are here today as partners looking to continue and expand on our technical cooperation to improve the security and the well being of future generation is especially poignant to me,” he said.
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