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Energy Dept Investing $60M in Russian Nuclear Security

By    |   Friday, 08 May 2015 06:27 PM

The U.S. Energy Department will invest $60 million in Russia for the purpose of nuclear security activities even though there are still sanctions against the Russian government over the situation in Ukraine.

The funds are coming from the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which manages nuclear arms and security as part of the Multinational Nuclear Environmental Program in Russia (MNEPR), The Washington Free Beacon reports.

A lot of questions remain about how exactly the money will be spent.

According to Obama administration officials, the funds may help with removing nuclear waste material that the Russians have dumped in the Arctic Ocean or go toward nuclear nonproliferation measures with the Russians.

NNSA spokesman Derrick Robinson told the Beacon that specific details about how the money will be spent are classified, but he did confirm that it would go toward the security of nuclear materials in Russia.

"Cooperation with Russia on nuclear security remains an important element to the global effort to reduce the threat posed by nuclear terrorism, and therefore supports key interests of not only the United States but the international community," Robinson said.

"We have long worked with Russia to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction by securing and eliminating WMD-related materials and technology," he added.

The MNEPR activities are not related to the sanctions the United States and European Union have imposed on Russia, a State Department official said.

In January, Russia said it would no longer participate in the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, known as the Nunn-Lugar program, which worked toward securing nuclear materials in Russia after the Soviet Union fell in 1991. In addition, Russia said it would no longer accept U.S. funding, which it used to receive through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency run by the Department of Defense.

The program has essentially been continued by the Obama administration by putting it under the auspices of the MNEPR. The main administration official overseeing it is Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller.

However, the Free Beacon reports that officials in the Obama administration are concerned about the funds' being misused or being used to offset the impact of the sanctions.

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The U.S. Energy Department will invest $60 million in Russia for the purpose of nuclear security activities even though there are still sanctions against the Russian government over the situation in Ukraine.
Energy, Department, investing, Russian, nuclear, security, Ukraine
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2015-27-08
Friday, 08 May 2015 06:27 PM
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