National Nuclear Security Administration

Armenia Secures Dangerous Radioactive Sources in Cooperation with NNSA

May 27, 2015

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The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) joined the Republic of Armenia today to announce the safe and secure removal of three unused radioactive sources from two locations in Yerevan, Armenia. The successful completion of the radioactive source recovery campaign was conducted by the Armenia Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA).

Since 2002, the NNSA’s Radiological Security Program has committed over two million dollars to Armenia in support of radiological security projects. Together, ANRA and NNSA have removed, identified and secured over 30,000 curies (Ci) of dangerous radiological materials from a total of nine locations. Government experts have determined that sources with as few as ten curies, if used in a radiological dispersal device (RDD), could result in extensive land denial and significant economic impact that requires a national response. This recovery campaign was accomplished through the combined efforts of Armenia’s Nuclear and Radiation Safety Center operating under ANRA and the NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN).

The safe and secure removal of these radioactive sources supports efforts by ANRA to implement international guidelines to protect and secure radiological materials. Additional cooperation between the two organizations has included the development of strengthened radiological security regulations, enhancement of security at radiological material sites, and improvements to security for radiological materials in transit.

NNSA’s cooperative efforts aim to help prevent nuclear and radiological terrorism around the world. NNSA’s radiological security mission works cooperatively with partner countries to identify orphaned or unused radiological sources, remove the sources and place them in secure storage, and improve radiological transportation security and site security where sources remain in active use.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the 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 U.S. and abroad.