New Opportunities for Russia's Closed Cities
New opportunities for Russia's closed cities
NTI supported model projects in Russia’s closed nuclear cities to help prevent the spread of nuclear knowledge by creating non-defense-related jobs for those with knowledge of sophisticated weapons design and materials handling practices.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 presented numerous security challenges for Russia, including the dangerous job of safeguarding thousands of nuclear weapons and potentially unsecured materials.
NTI explored a host of ways to leverage resources to help reduce the threat. After consulting with the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy and U.S. government agencies, NTI decided to concentrate its efforts on the closed nuclear city of Sarov, one of 10 once-secret, highly restricted Soviet “closed cities” in the country’s nuclear-industrial complex where scientists, engineers, and technicians worked on building nuclear weapons.
Sarov posed an especially serious problem because its weapons manufacturing plant was closing, leaving unemployed thousands of workers who could potentially provide terrorists with access to or information about nuclear weapons and materials.
NTI’s support of Sarov included: a $1 million contribution to a revolving Russian loan fund set up to create permanent, viable civilian businesses that could employ former weapons workers; financial support for SaravLabs, a contract research organization which provides engineering, computational physics and other services; $1 million in infrastructure support for Saraov’s Open Technopark located outside the closed city but close to the concentrated center of highly skilled scientists, engineers and technicians.
the Nuclear Threat
Reducing the risk of nuclear use by terrorists and nation-states requires a broad set of complementary strategies targeted at reducing state reliance on nuclear weapons, stemming the demand for nuclear weapons and denying organizations or states access to the essential nuclear materials, technologies and know-how.