Start Production Association (PO Start)

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Last Updated: March 22, 2013
Other Name: (ФГУП) Федеральный научно-производственный центр Производственное объединение Старт имени М.В.Проценко, ФГУП ФНПЦ ПО Старт им. M.B. Проценко, M.V. Protsenko Federal Research and Development Center Start Production Association
Location: Zarechny, Penza Oblast
Subordinate To: Rosatom, Division of Nuclear Munitions Production
Size: Approximately 7,500 employees
Facility Status: Operational

Established in 1954 in Penza-19 (now known as Zarechny), PO Start initially produced warhead components for the Soviet nuclear arsenal. Beginning in 1963, PO Start served as a warhead assembly and disassembly facility. [1] In 2002, Rosatom announced it was ceasing all warhead assembly and disassembly work at this facility. [2]

In the 1990s, PO Start began producing detonation systems and other automatic and electronic components and subassemblies for nuclear munitions. [3] It appears to be continuing this work. Today, it also manufactures components for anti-tank and other advanced conventional weapons, as well as a range of civilian goods. [4]

In 2006, PO Start integrated the Zarechny-based Research and Design Institute of Radioelectronic Engineering (NIKIRET) into its structure. Established in 1962, NIKIRET is one of the largest producers of sensors and security equipment for Rosatom facilities and other applications, including border control. [5]
 
Sources:
[1] "История" [History], Производственное объединение Старт (ПО Старт) [Start Production Association (PO Start)], www.startatom.ru.
[2] Oleg Bukharin and James Doyle, "Verification of the Shutdown or Converted Status of Excess Warhead Production Capacity: Technology Options and Policy Issues," Science & Global Security, October 2002, p. 104.
[3] Oleg Bukharin, "Downsizing Russia's Nuclear Warhead Production Infrastructure," The Nonproliferation Review, Spring 2001, pp. 124.
[4] "История" [History], Производственное объединение Старт (ПО Старт) [Start Production Association (PO Start)], www.startatom.ru.
[5] "История" [History], Научно-исследовательский и конструкторский институт радиоэлектронной техники (НИКИРЭТ) [R&D Research and Design Institute of Radio-Electronic Engineering (NIKIRET)], www.nikiret.ru.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.