MOSCOW, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Russia and the United States had halted a bilateral nuclear safety project, which Washington had been financing for decades, local media reported Tuesday.
All joint works in the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, also known as the updated Nunn-Lugar program, had been suspended, Moscow's Kommersant newspaper quoted U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) representative Anne Harrington as saying.
She said the United States made that decision, without further elaboration, while the newspaper attributed the move to discord between Moscow and Washington over the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.
Harrington added that 40 to 70 percent of the safety equipment had already been installed at Russia's nuclear facilities.
The program's overall budget amounted to 8.79 billion dollars. The funds already allocated for the project had been redirected from the 2015 budget of the U.S. Energy Department.
These funds were originally allocated for transportation of highly-enriched nuclear fuel to a single storage and for installation of security hardware at Russia's nuclear sites of Ozyorsk in the southern Urals and Arzamas-16 in Central Russia.
Since 1993, U.S. Defense Department and Energy Department had allocated 1.6 billion U.S. dollars for installation of safety devices at 50 Russian navy facilities, 11 strategic force sites and 175 civilian objects, the newspaper said.
The areas of cooperation that remained at the time included tracking, control and physical protection of nuclear materials; customs control; identification, recovery, storage, security and disposal of hazardous radioactive sources; processing of excess highly enriched uranium into low-enriched uranium; and dismantling, transportation, recovery of fuel and secure storage of nuclear submarines.
In June 2013, the two countries replaced the project with a revised, smaller-scale version of the Nunn-Lugar program.
The Nunn-Lugar program was adopted after the collapse of the Soviet Union to secure the destruction of weapons of mass destruction and related infrastructure in the former Soviet republics.