Department of Energy and Climate Change
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Progress continues on eliminating threat of dangerous weapons across the globe

Progress continues on eliminating threat of dangerous weapons across the globe

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE News Release (Reference: 2009/017) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 17 February 2009

A report on reducing the threat of proliferation of dangerous nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical materials and expertise is published by the government today.

The UK Global Threat Reduction Programme 2008 Annual Report highlights the progress made on projects including the safe destruction of chemical weapons in Russia, other former Soviet Union countries and elsewhere. The programme is funded from the UK's Global Threat Reduction Programme annual budget of £36 million.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Mike O'Brien said:

"The report shows Government work to reduce Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) threats, and the real contribution that we are making to improving global security."

The report includes the development of a strategy for the management of some 30 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned submarines in North West Russia, progress on construction of a key chemical weapons destruction facility, redirection of former WMD scientists, implementation of a programme of enhancements to security of nuclear materials, and assistance towards the irreversible closure of weapons grade plutonium production reactors in Russia.

The UK Ministry of Defence has placed all its planned Chemical Weapons Destruction contracts, with a total value of over £80m, with funding provided by the UK, Canada and a dozen other international donors. These projects are virtually completed, helping Russia to bring this key facility into operation.

Notes for editors:

1. The UK Global Threat Reduction Programme 2008 Annual Report is available online at http://www.decc.gov.uk/non-proliferation

2. The report reviews the UK's progress over the past year in establishing, implementing and completing a substantial portfolio of projects and programmes - mainly in the Russian Federation and other Former Soviet Union countries, to help tackle nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological security threats. The work is part of the international effort initiated at the 2002 G8 Summit at Kananaskis, Canada, to enhance strategic stability consistent with international security objectives and in support of multilateral non-proliferation regimes.

3. The UK's Global Threat Reduction Programme is aimed at the non-proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction, and associated expertise, through the establishment of cooperative threat reduction projects with key partner nations.

4. The UK's Global Threat Reduction Programme includes the UK contribution to the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction Programme, a $20b ten year programme agreed at the G8 Summit at Kananaskis, Canada in 2002 to address the nuclear, chemical and biological legacies of the Former Soviet Union, initially Russia.

5. At Kananaskis, the UK committed up to $750 million over ten years to fund projects in pursuit of the Partnership's aims.

6. Further details about the UK programme and projects can be found athttp://www.decc.gov.uk/non-proliferation

7. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is responsible for implementing the nuclear elements of the UK Government's Global Threat Reduction Programme. The Ministry of Defence is responsible for implementing the chemical weapons destruction and biological elements. The Global Threat Reduction Programme is overseen by a UK Ministerial Oversight Board led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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