Nuclear Nonproliferation:

U.S. Efforts to Help Newly Independent States Improve Their Nuclear Material Controls

T-NSIAD/RCED-96-118: Published: Mar 13, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1996.

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GAO discussed U.S. efforts to strengthen controls over nuclear materials in the newly independent states (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. GAO noted that: (1) social and economic changes in the newly independent states have increased the threat of theft and diversion of nuclear material; (2) recent seizures of direct-use material in Russia and Europe have increased concerns about the adequacy of controls at nuclear facilities; (3) NIS may not be able to counter this increased threat because of a breakdown in Soviet-era control systems; (4) nuclear material is extremely vulnerable to theft and diversion because it has not been accurately and completely inventoried, NIS do not have adequate resources to track its movement, it is relatively safe and easy to handle, and economic and social upheavals have increased its value; (5) DOE lab-to-lab and government-to-government programs have improved controls at civilian and direct-use facilities; and (6) DOE is developing long-range plans to improve material protection control and accounting systems in all former Soviet facilities handling direct-use material by 2000, consolidate program plans, and develop a centralized cost-reporting system and a flexible audit approach.

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