NNSA and Russian Federation recover all RTGs from Northern Sea Route

The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration announced on Thursday that it partnered with the Russian Federation to successfully remove 14 Russian radioisotope thermoelectric generators from the Northern Sea Route.

RTGs were once used to generate electrical power in rural areas and to help illuminate the coastline for seamen. RTGs, however, contain Stronium-90, a radioisotope which could be used to create a dirty bomb. The NNSA and the Russian Federation partnered to neutralize this threat and promote international nuclear security.

"Today's announcement marks a significant milestone in our joint efforts with our Russian partners to improve global nuclear and radiological security," NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington said. "Our partnership with Russia is vital and essential to achieve our shared threat reduction and nuclear security goals. In achieving this significant milestone, we have cooperated to secure more than one million curies of vulnerable radioactive material, and helped to ensure that terrorists never get their hands on these dangerous materials."

The 14 RTGs were the last standing generators along the Northern Sea Route. The removal of these generators marked the successful completion of the NNSA's mission to recover the RTGs along this route.

Over the last ten years, the DEO's Global Threat Reduction Initiative has recovered 482 RTGs throughout Russia. More than 800 RTGs have been recovered in total through multinational efforts from Russia, the U.S., Norway, France, Canada, Sweden and Finland to improve global security.