Germ Research Lab Opens In Ukraine

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar today welcomed the opening of the Interim Central Reference Laboratory in Odessa, Ukraine. The level-3 bio-safety laboratory is the first built under the expanded authority of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program.

US Senator Richard Lugar

In partnership with the Nunn-Lugar program, the laboratory will be used to facilitate research on anthrax, tularemia, Q fever, and other dangerous pathogens of mutual concern to the U.S. and Ukraine.

“The continuing cooperation of Nunn-Lugar partners has improved safety for all people against weapons of mass destruction and potential terrorist use, in addition to advancements in the prevention of pandemics and public health consequences,” Lugar said.

Lugar and former Sen. Sam Nunn visited Odessa in 2007 and were briefed on the laboratory development, as well as border security and interdiction. In 2005, Lugar and then-Sen. Barack Obama were part of the signing agreement ceremony that created the partnership for the laboratory.

Also that year, Lugar and Obama gained additional support for coordination between U.S. and Ukrainian laboratories to research and help prevent the spread of avian flu to humans.

Additional level-3 laboratories are under construction in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia through the Nunn- Lugar program.

In November 1991, Lugar (R-IN) and Nunn (D-GA) authored the Nunn-Lugar Act, which established the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. This program has provided U.S. funding and expertise to help the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle its enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials, and delivery systems.

In 2003, Congress adopted the Nunn-Lugar Expansion Act, which authorized the Nunn-Lugar program to operate outside the former Soviet Union to address proliferation threats.

In 2004, Nunn-Lugar funds were committed for the first time outside of the former Soviet Union to destroy chemical weapons in Albania, under a Lugar-led expansion of the program.

In 2007, Lugar announced the complete destruction of Albania’s chemical weapons.
Lugar makes annual oversight trips to Nunn-Lugar sites around the world.

The Nunn-Lugar scorecard now totals 7,539 strategic nuclear warheads deactivated, 781 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) destroyed, 498 ICBM silos eliminated, 168 ICBM mobile launchers destroyed, 651 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) eliminated, 476 SLBM launchers eliminated, 32 nuclear submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles destroyed, 155 bomber eliminated, 906 nuclear air-to-surface missiles (ASMs) destroyed, 194 nuclear test tunnels eliminated, 479 nuclear weapons transport train shipments secured, upgraded security at 24 nuclear weapons storage sites, built and equipped 20 biological monitoring stations, and neutralized 1337 metric tons of Russian & Albanian chemical weapons agent.

Perhaps most importantly, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program. Those countries were the third, fourth and eighth largest nuclear weapons powers in the world.

Source: Senator Lugar Press Release

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