WASHINGTON, MOSCOW, and ZURICH - February 8 - Global Green USA, together with Green Cross Switzerland and Green Cross Russia, announces the opening to the public of the first ever Green Cross Public Outreach and Information Office (POIO) at a nuclear weapons dismantlement site in the Russian Federation in the city of Severodvinsk. “The more transparency and public dialogue, the better will controversial and complex policies in nuclear weapons demilitarization, fissile material management, and energy strategies proceed,” noted Dr. Paul Walker, Legacy Program Director with Global Green USA in Washington, DC.
Global Green and Green Cross have over 10 years of experience managing 11 public outreach and information offices at chemical weapons stockpile and destruction sites in Russia under auspices of the Green Cross/Global Green “Legacy of the Cold War” Program, and in close coordination with international threat reduction, nonproliferation, and G-8 Global Partnership efforts. These offices have been successful in facilitating destruction of over 5,000 tons of deadly chemical weapons to date.
Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia has a population of 200,000 and is located 30 miles west of the city of Arkhangelsk. It is home to the “Zvezdochka” shipyard – the world’s largest – which is responsible for maintenance and decommissioning of nuclear ships and subs. Numerous nuclear submarines, from the November- to the Typhoon-class, have been built there. In addition, Russia plans to build its first floating nuclear power plant there jointly with China. Therefore, timely and comprehensive information on safety, security, and public health and environmental risks is of primary importance to the local population.
Russia's nuclear sector is currently under rapid change. The country inherited from the former Soviet Union about 20,000 nuclear warheads, about 1,000 tons of weapons-grade uranium, 180 tons of weapons-grade plutonium, as well as 248 nuclear submarines. The current leadership of Rosatom, Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency, is conscious that the numerous problems Rosatom is facing cannot be resolved without involving the population and regional administration. Profiting from experience gained over a decade in the facilitation of chemical weapons demilitarization in Russia, Green Cross and Global Green know about the importance of building up a network of information and trust.