US-Ukraine partnership to help Ukraine diversify its energy sources

The 25th Anniversary of U.S. – Ukrainian Diplomatic Relations — Projects That Change Ukraine

Posted by: Department of Energy Office, Kyiv, Ukraine

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Efforts to provide Ukraine with a nuclear fuel alternative to Russia’s TVEL – which had been a monopoly provider of VVER-1000 nuclear fuel – began in 1998 with the initiation of the Ukraine Nuclear Fuel Qualification Project (UNFQP).  The U.S. launched the project in response to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma’s decision to cancel the sale of Turboatom-produced turbines for Iran’s Bushehr NPP in 1998.  The UNFQP thereby expanded the U.S.-Ukraine nonproliferation partnership to include the enhancement of energy security for Ukraine.

Westinghouse fuel assembles as stored before loading at Zaporyzhya NPP
Westinghouse fuel assembles as stored before loading at Zaporyzhya NPP

The U.S. Government, through close cooperation between the Department of Energy and Department of State, contributed more than $70 million in Freedom Support Act funding to the UNFQP to develop a robust nuclear fuel technology base in Ukraine and to diversify Ukraine’s nuclear energy supply.  Initially, the effort involved sharing technology and expertise in nuclear fuel design, reactor fuel design, and fuel and core licensing with Ukraine’s Center for Reactor Core Design in Kharkiv.  It then expanded with the competitive selection of Westinghouse to design, fabricate, and deliver six fuel lead test assemblies.  Ukraine’s nuclear regulator reviewed and approved the loading and operation of the fuel in Ukraine’s reactors, and the fuel successfully performed four cycles at Unit 3 of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNPP) from 2005-2009.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Westinghouse subsequently designed, fabricated, and delivered a reload batch with Ukraine-provided uranium, which received approvals from Ukrainian regulators and began operation in 2010.  Following a period with several challenges, Westinghouse and Energoatom agreed Westinghouse would modify its fuel for future use, and after testing at Westinghouse, the Ukrainian nuclear regulator approved the modified fuel in 2014 for expanded deployment.  Following this approval, Energoatom signed a contract in December 2014 for a significant expansion in fuel provision. Westinghouse fuel is now in use at South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant and Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. Energoatom envisions using Westinghouse fuel at six of the country’s 15 reactors by the end of 2017.

This project singlehandedly delivered an alternative fuel provider to Russia’s TVEL, which has significantly enhanced Ukraine’s energy security and in turn its self-determination.

New Satellite Imagery Exposes Russian Combat Troops Inside Ukraine

Story by: SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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August 28, 2014

Mons, BELGIUM – NATO released new satellite images on Thursday, 28 August 2014, that show Russian combat forces engaged in military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine. The images, captured in late August, depict Russian self-propelled artillery units moving in a convoy through the Ukrainian countryside and then preparing for action by establishing firing positions in the area of Krasnodon, Ukraine.

Dutch Brigadier General Nico Tak, director of the Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre (CCOMC), Allied Command Operations said the images confirmed what NATO and its Allies had been seeing for weeks from other sources.

“Over the past two weeks we have noted a significant escalation in both the level and sophistication of Russia’s military interference in Ukraine,” said Brigadier General Tak. “The satellite images released today provide additional evidence that Russian combat soldiers, equipped with sophisticated heavy weaponry, are operating inside Ukraine’s sovereign territory,” he said.

These latest images provide concrete examples of Russian activity inside Ukraine, but are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the overall scope of Russian troop and weapons movements.

“We have also detected large quantities of advanced weapons, including air defence systems, artillery, tanks, and armoured personnel carriers being transferred to separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine,” said Brigadier General Tak. “The presence of these weapons along with substantial numbers of Russian combat troops inside Ukraine make the situation increasingly grave,” he said.

Also released were images showing substantial activity inside Russia in areas adjacent to the border with Ukraine. NATO believes this activity is being conducted in direct support to forces operating inside Ukraine, and is part of a highly coordinated and destabilising strategy.

“Russia is reinforcing and resupplying separatist forces in a blatant attempt to change the momentum of the fighting, which is currently favouring the Ukrainian military,” Brigadier General Tak said. “Russia’s ultimate aim is to alleviate pressure on separatist fighters in order to prolong this conflict indefinitely, which would result in further tragedy for the people of Eastern Ukraine,” he added.

The source of the images is an independent firm named Digital Globe. The images have not been altered or changed by NATO. Additional information has been added to identify locations, dates and equipment. DigitalGlobe images can be independently verified:

Release of Satellite Imagery – 28 August 2014

Image #1 provided by Digital Globe
Image #1 provided by Digital Globe

Image 1 shows Russian military units moving in a convoy formation with self-propelled artillery in the area of Krasnodon, Ukraine, well inside territory controlled by Russian separatists. The image was captured on 21 August 2014. There is confidence the equipment is Russian, since Ukrainian units have not yet penetrated this far into separatist controlled territory.

Image #2 provided by Digital Globe
Image #2 provided by Digital Globe

Image 2 shows Russian self-propelled artillery units set up in firing positions near Krasnodon, Ukraine. They are supported by logistical vehicles which are likely carrying extra ammunition and supplies. This configuration is exactly how trained military professionals would arrange their assets on the ground, indicating that these are not unskilled amateurs, but Russian soldiers. Russian artillery systems like these have recently shelled Ukrainian positions outside the city of Luhansk in conjunction with a separatist counteroffensive to attempt to break the Ukrainian siege of the city.

Image #3 provided by Digital Globe
Image #3 provided by Digital Globe
Image 3 includes two pictures (left and right) and shows a military deployment site on the Russian side of the border, near Rostov-on-Don. This location is approximately 31 miles or 50 kilometres from the Dovzhansky, Ukraine border crossing.
The image on the left was captured on 19 June 2014 and shows the area to be mostly empty at this time. The image on the right was taken two months later on 20 August 2014 and shows the same location. Russian main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, cargo trucks and tented accommodations can all be clearly seen. This is one example of the multiple encampments that Russia has positioned near its border with Eastern Ukraine. Many of these forces are deployed within a few kilometers of Ukraine, and are capable of attacking with little warning, and could potentially overwhelm and push-back Ukrainian units. Russia has also moved significant numbers of combat aircraft and helicopters to airfields along the border. Russian unmanned aircraft routinely cross into Ukrainian airspace.
Some equipment from these locations is moved across the border and is used to resupply and equip separatist forces operating in Ukraine. For months, Russia has provided separatist fighters with heavy equipment in the form of tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and multiple rocket launchers. Air defense systems have also been provided to separatists, even following the downing of Malaysian airlines flight MH17.
Image #4 provided by Digital Globe
Image #4 provided by Digital Globe
Image 4, captured on 23 July 2014, depicts what are probably six Russian 153mm 2S19 self-propelled guns located in Russia near Kuybyshevo. This site is situated 4 miles, or 6.5 kilometres, south of the Ukraine border, near the village of Chervonyi Zhovten. The guns are pointed north, directly towards Ukrainian territory (see North indicator on image). See image 5 for an overview of where these guns are situated in relation to Ukrainian territory.
Image #5 provided by Digital Globe
Image #5 provided by Digital Globe

Image 5 shows a wider overview including the position of the self-propelled guns from image 4. Note the North indicator on this image, and remember that the guns are orientated in this location. It is clear that from this location, it would be impossible NOT to fire into Ukrainian territory. This is clearly NOT an exercise; these guns are being used to support separatist forces operating in the territory of Ukraine.

Russia’s Continuing Support for Armed Separatists in Ukraine and Ukraine’s Efforts Toward Peace, Unity, and Stability

Posted by: Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State
July 14, 2014
Mortar Attack in Luhansk, Ukraine on July 14, 2014
Mortar Attack in Luhansk, Ukraine on July 14, 2014

The United States’ goal throughout the crisis in Ukraine has been to support a democratic Ukraine that is stable, unified, secure both politically and economically, and able to determine its own future. Therefore, we support ongoing dialogue among the foreign ministers from Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia to work toward a sustainable ceasefire by all parties in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine that would build toward a lasting peace. We should emphasize, however, that our ultimate goal is not just a temporary halt to violence. We want Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine and occupying Crimea, a part of Ukraine’s territory, and allow all of the people of Ukraine to come together to make their own decisions about their country’s future through a democratic political process.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko has proposed a detailed peace plan that includes a promise of amnesty for separatists who laid down their arms voluntarily, and who are not guilty of capital crimes, decentralization of powers within Ukraine, and protection of the Russian language. He also implemented a unilateral ten-day ceasefire on June 20 to create room for a political solution, which unfortunately was not reciprocated by the separatists and their Russian backers.

While Russia says it seeks peace, its actions do not match its rhetoric. We have no evidence that Russia’s support for the separatists has ceased. In fact, we assess that Russia continues to provide them with heavy weapons, other military equipment and financing, and continues to allow militants to enter Ukraine freely. Russia denies this, just as it denied its forces were involved in Crimea — until after the fact. Russia has refused to call for the separatists to lay down their arms, and continues to mass its troops along the Ukrainian border. Many self-proclaimed “leaders” of the separatists hail from Russia and have ties to the Russian government. This all paints a telling picture of Russia’s continued policy of destabilization in eastern Ukraine.

Here are the facts:

  • Russia continues to accumulate significant amounts of equipment at a deployment site in southwest Russia. This equipment includes tanks of a type no longer used by the Russian military, as well as armored vehicles, multiple rocket launchers, artillery, and air defense systems. Russia has roughly doubled the number of tanks, armored vehicles, and rocket launchers at this site. More advanced air defense systems have also arrived at this site.
  • We are confident Moscow is mobilizing additional tanks that are no longer in the active Russian military inventory from a depot to send to this same deployment site.
  • We are concerned much of this equipment will be transferred to separatists, as we are confident Russia has already delivered tanks and multiple rocket launchers to them from this site.
  • Available information indicates Moscow has recently transferred some Soviet-era tanks and artillery to the separatists and that over the weekend several military vehicles crossed the border.
  • Social media videos of separatist military convoys suggest Russia in the past week alone has probably supplied the militants with at least two-dozen additional armored vehicles and artillery pieces and about as many military trucks.
  • Publicly available videos posted on July 14 of a Luhansk convoy on the road to Donetsk revealed at least five T-64 tanks, four BMP-2 armored personnel carriers (APC), BM-21 multiple rocket launchers, three towed antitank guns, two ZU 23-2 antiaircraft guns, and probably a 2B16 mortar.
  • A video of Krasnodon, near the Izvaryne border crossing, on 11 July showed two BTR armored personnel carriers, two antitank guns, and various trucks on a road heading in a westerly direction towards Donetsk.
  • A video filmed in Donetsk on 11 July showed a convoy of three BMD-2 APCs, two BMPs, one 2S9 self-propelled gun, and a BTR-60 APC.
  • In addition, after recapturing several Ukrainian cities last weekend, Ukrainian officials discovered caches of weapons that they assert came from Russia, including MANPADS, mines, grenades, MREs, vehicles, and a pontoon bridge.
  • Ukrainian forces have discovered large amounts of other Russian-provided military equipment, including accompanying documentation verifying the Russian origin of said equipment, in the areas they have liberated from the separatists.
  • Photographs of destroyed or disabled separatist equipment in eastern Ukraine have corroborated that some of this equipment is coming from Russia.
  • Recruiting efforts for separatist fighters are expanding inside Russia and separatists are looking for volunteers with experience operating heavy weapons such as tanks and air defenses. Russia has allowed officials from the “Donetsk Peoples’ Republic” to establish a recruiting office in Moscow.
  • Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who has long had a distinguished career in the Ukrainian military, was taken by separatists in mid-June. She is now being held in a prison in Voronezh, Russia. According to the Ukrainian government, she was transferred to Russia by separatists.
  • Separately Russia continues to redeploy new forces extremely close to the Ukrainian border. We have information that a significant number of additional military units are also in the process of deploying to the border.

Ukraine’s Good-Faith Efforts: In a bid to unify the country, President Poroshenko outlined a comprehensive peace plan on June 7. President Poroshenko’s plan offers amnesty to separatists who lay down their arms voluntarily, and who are not guilty of capital crimes; commits to providing a safe corridor for Russian fighters to return to Russia; establishes a job creation program for the affected areas; includes an offer of broad decentralization and dialogue with eastern regions, including the promise of early local elections; and grants increased local control over language, holidays, and customs. President Poroshenko also has reached out to the residents of eastern Ukraine and is pursuing constitutional reform which will give local regions more authority to choose their regional leaders and protect locally-spoken languages.

President Poroshenko implemented a unilateral seven-day (later extended to ten days) unilateral ceasefire on June 20. He also proposed meeting with leaders from eastern Ukraine — including separatists — despite their stated unwillingness to abide by the cease-fire or to negotiate.

Yet Russia and its proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk did not act on this opportunity for peace. Hours after the ceasefire began, Russia-backed separatists wounded nine Ukrainian service members. During the course of the ten-day ceasefire, Russia-backed separatists attacked Ukrainian security forces over 100 times, killing 28 service members. The separatists continue to hold more than 150 hostages, mostly civilians, including teachers and journalists. Separatists have refused all offers by the Ukrainian government to meet.

This timeline of events leading to, during, and after the unilateral Ukraine ceasefire illustrates how the good-faith efforts of the Ukraine government and European leaders to broker a ceasefire with Russia and the separatists it backs have been rejected. Russia and the separatists they are supporting continued to destabilize Ukraine throughout the ceasefire, and continue to destabilize Ukraine today.

  • May 25: Petro Poroshenko, who had campaigned on a platform stressing reconciliation with the east and Russia, is elected by an absolute majority of voters in Ukraine.
  • June 8-17: President Poroshenko hosts five rounds of contact group talks, facilitated by the OSCE envoy, in the lead-up to his announcement of a ceasefire.
  • June 12: Poroshenko initiates a call to President Putin to open communication.
  • June 14: EU-brokered gas talks end with a final EU brokered proposal: Ukraine accepts the proposal, but Russia rejected it.
  • June 19: Poroshenko meets with eastern Ukrainian leaders, including separatists, in Kyiv.
  • June 20: Poroshenko implements a seven-day unilateral ceasefire. Hours later, nine Ukrainian service members are wounded by pro-Russian separatists, foreshadowing separatists’ 100 plus violent actions over the next 10 days.
  • June 23: The contact group meets in Donetsk.
  • June 25: NATO Secretary General Rasmussen notes that there are “no signs” of Russia respecting its international commitments with regard to Ukraine.
  • June 27: Ukraine provides constitutional reform provisions to the Venice Commission for review. This reform would allow for the direct election of governors and for local authorities to confer special status on minority languages within their regions.
  • June 27: Poroshenko extends the unilateral ceasefire another 72 hours to allow another chance for OSCE contact group negotiations to show progress.
  • June 28: Ukraine shoots down two Russian UAVs violating Ukraine’s airspace in the Luhansk region.
  • June 30: Due to the separatists’ refusal to abandon violence in favor of negotiation, President Poroshenko allows the cease-fire to expire.
  • July 3: President Poroshenko in a telephone conversation with U.S. Vice President Biden reaffirms that he is ready to begin political negotiations to resolve the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions without any additional conditions.
  • July 8: President Petro Poroshenko visits the former rebel stronghold of Slovyansk to meet with local residents after government forces recapture it from pro-Russian separatists.
  • July 9: Ukraine restores electricity and train service to Slovyansk, and Ukrainian security forces distribute food, drinking water, and humanitarian aid to the population.
  • July 11: The Ukrainian government establishes an inter-agency task force in Slovyansk that is conducting damage, security, and humanitarian needs assessments.
  • July 11: The Ukrainian government reports that it delivered over 60 tons of humanitarian aid supplies in Donetsk Oblast over the preceding 24 hours, bringing the five-day total to 158 tons. President Poroshenko announces that Ukrainian security forces had successfully cleared nearly 100 mines and roadside bombs from liberated territory.

As General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, stated on July 1: “The cease fire in Ukraine was not ended because of accusations; it was ended because Russian-backed separatists responded with violence while President Poroshenko tried to open a window for peace. Russia’s commitment to peace will be judged by its actions, not its words.” As the United States and our European allies have repeatedly stated, we call on the Russian government to halt its material support for the separatists, to use its influence with the separatists to push them to lay down their arms and abide by a ceasefire and to release all hostages. Only then can the process of bringing peace to Ukraine truly begin.


Crimean Residents To Face Russian-Style Repression

Posted By Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Of Democracy, Human Rights, And Labor

APRIL 25, 2014

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A View of the City of Bakhchysarai, Crimea
A View of the City of Bakhchysarai, Crimea

One unfortunate effect – and perhaps intent – of the Russian government’s threats against eastern Ukraine has been to divert the world’s attention from the part of Ukraine it has already seized.

On April 15, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report on Crimea documenting what the Russian government has tried to hide by denying international monitors access to Crimea:  the imprisonment, torture, and killings of Crimean citizens who opposed Russia’s illegal annexation of the peninsula prior to the March referendum.

The world is already familiar with some of the more horrific reports that have emerged in recent weeks, such as the discovery on March 18 of the body of Crimean Tatar activist Reshat Ametov two weeks after he had been abducted, bearing clear evidence of abuse.  On March 25, Human Rights Watch reported that two Euromaidan activists in Crimea had been kidnapped and brutally tortured by Russian and local forces in secret facilities for 11 days.

A Tatar woman cries during the funeral of Reshat Ametov, a Tatar pro-Ukrainian activist and father of three, who disappeared after attending a rally on March 3 in Simferopol, Crimea, on March 18, 2014.
A Tatar woman cries during the funeral of Reshat Ametov, a Tatar pro-Ukrainian activist and father of three, who disappeared after attending a rally on March 3 in Simferopol, Crimea, on March 18, 2014.

After spinning a fictitious tale of protecting members of the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine, the Russian government and its proxies are subjecting members of ethnic minorities in Crimea to the very abuses they pretend to oppose.  On March 31, pro-Russian thugs beat a 14-year-old Tatar boy for speaking Tatar in public.  On March 18, Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Temirgaliyev announced that Tatars must give up their land to be used for other purposes.  On March 15 and 16, pro-Russia thugs kidnapped Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests, interrogated them, and had local “authorities” charge some of them with “extremism.”  Following anonymous death threats, the Chief Reform Rabbi of Crimea has fled.  All told, international organizations report that around 5,000 people, including minority Christians, Jews, and at least 3,000 Tatars, have fled Crimea and sought refuge elsewhere in Ukraine.

If the Russian government begins to impose through its occupation and purported annexation of Crimea the repressive laws it is increasingly implementing in Russia, Crimean residents may experience surprising restrictions on the rights they once freely exercised.  Among these are:

  • A Loss of Autonomy.  Even as President Putin demands decentralization in Ukraine, he is abolishing it in Russia.  A new bill in the Duma could cancel direct mayoral elections in Russia, stripping citizens of their ability to elect their local leaders.
  • Censorship and Propaganda.  As has already been done within Russia, Russian authorities have tried to limit Crimean residents’ access to TV channels that are not Kremlin-controlled.  From Russia’s internet space, Crimean residents could find themselves unable to access certain independent news sites.
  • Criminalization of Dissent.  The Russian government could attempt to subject Crimean residents who wish to express dissent to its arsenal of laws unduly restricting freedom of expression, including Russian-style prosecutions of journalists and activists for “extremism” and “hooliganism” simply for expressing independent views.
  • “Foreign Agent” Hysteria. Following the xenophobic trend encouraged by authorities in Russia, lists of local “traitors” and “foreign agents” have already begun to appear in Crimea.  Crimean non-governmental organizations (NGOs), like Russian ones, may find themselves subjected to a range of new burdensome regulations, including the notorious Russian “Foreign Agents” NGO law.  Many Crimean human rights defenders have already fled Crimea, and many of those who stayed are considering a principled stance to avoid taking on the false and stigmatizing label of “foreign agent.”
  • Limits on Freedom of Assembly. Recent Russian laws instituting harsh fines (over $9000) for participating in peaceful unsanctioned protest, if imposed in Crimea, may have a chilling effect on public demonstrations.  We’ve already seen evidence in Sevastopol – on April 15, the city banned an LGBT pride parade, citing Russia’s ban on LGBT “propaganda.”

Russia will continue to pay a high price if it continues to occupy Crimea.  Sanctions imposed because of its actions in Crimea will remain so long as those actions continue.  And we will increase these costs if Russia does not follow through on the commitments it made in Geneva on April 17 to de-escalate the crisis it has manufactured in eastern Ukraine.  We will also continue to empower Ukraine to withstand Russian pressure and move towards a prosperous and democratic future.  In recent days, the United States has signed a loan guarantee agreement with Ukraine to unlock $1 billion in financing, which will help the Ukrainian Government to provide critical services and protect vulnerable citizens as the government implements necessary economic reforms.  We are providing additional assistance to support those reforms, as well as free and fair elections, anti-corruption initiatives, recovery of stolen assets, and helping Ukraine withstand politically-motivated trade actions by Russia.

Video: Sanctions: How Did We Get Here?

As we look to what has happened in Crimea, and seek to diffuse tensions in eastern Ukraine, we are reminded what is at stake.  This is not a dispute between different parts of Ukraine.  It is a contest, as President Obama has said, between two competing ideals: “the belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose,” and an “older, more traditional view of power” which holds that “order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”  The desire to live in freedom, under a state that serves its citizens, not the other way around, is universal.  Ukrainians don’t want to lose their freedom.  Their fellow citizens in Crimea, and neighbors in Russia, deserve to reclaim it.


Zhulyany’s New Nuclear Detection System: Protecting Ukraine from Radioactive Threats

Posted by: Laura Smiley, U.S. Department of Energy

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A Representative of Ukraine’s Border Guard, General  Karas (right) greets DCM Bruce Donahue (2nd from left) as well as DOE Staff Kateryna Kamchatna (left) and Arina Kovalenko (3rd from left)
A Representative of Ukraine’s Border Guard, General Karas (right) greets DCM Bruce Donahue (2nd from left) as well as DOE Staff Kateryna Kamchatna (left) and Arina Kovalenko (3rd from left)

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Second Line of Defense (SLD) program marked another milestone in Ukraine on October 30, 2013.  A radioactive portal monitoring system was installed by SLD at Zhulyani International Airport – the second busiest airport in Ukraine, and key participants from NNSA, the U.S. Embassy, the Ukrainian Border Guards, and the Airport Administration came together to celebrate the new equipment with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

General Karas speaks while DCM Donahue, SLD Country Manager Andrew Vogt , and DOE Program Coordinator Arina Kovalenko stand by
General Karas speaks while DCM Donahue, SLD Country Manager Andrew Vogt , and DOE Program Coordinator Arina Kovalenko stand by

The ceremony, which was held in the beautiful, new Terminal A building at Zhulyani, was attended by U.S. Embassy Kyiv’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Bruce Donahue, the Ukraine Border Guard Service First Deputy Director of the International Legal Department, General  Volodymyr Karas, NNSA Ukraine SLD manager, Andrew Vogt, DOE Kyiv staff, and many others.

General Karas and Bruce Donahue gave speeches complimenting NNSA on more than 50 successful installations of SLD equipment, the latest of which was the system of portal monitors at Zhulyani.  DCM Donahue also pointed out that the SLD program was responsible for equipping regional training centers in Ukraine.

General Karas and DCM Donahue cut the ribbon on the SLD installation in the new international terminal at Zhulyani Airport in Kyiv
General Karas and DCM Donahue cut the ribbon on the SLD installation in the new international terminal at Zhulyani Airport in Kyiv

Together, DCM Donahue and General Karas cut the ribbon surrounding the portal monitors for the terminal.  The Border Guard then demonstrated the system when that first “traveler” crossed the threshold of the airport with a radiological source in his bag.  While lights flashed and alarms blared, the Border Guards detained the actor and demonstrated the effectiveness of both the monitors and the hand-held devices.

The Border Guard detains a “suspect” after the system alarms
The Border Guard detains a “suspect” after the system alarms
New Portal Monitors at Zhulyani International Airport
New Portal Monitors at Zhulyani International Airport

This ribbon-cutting event served to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in Ukraine, signed on October 23, 1993. The SLD program has been implemented under the CTR Umbrella Agreement since 2005.

IMG_0493During the event DCM Bruce Donahue recognized the most recent accomplishments in the cooperative effort in combating the threat of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism and congratulated everyone on the success of this challenging task.  The Border Guard presented the U.S. personnel and Airport Administration with plaques honoring their contributions to the success of border security in Ukraine.

Energy Efficiency and National Security

Posted by: John Rogers, Political Fellow

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I recently spoke to a class at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv about energy efficiency and what steps the U.S. Military is taking to become more responsible stewards of our natural resources.

The 2010 U.S. National Security Strategy states: “Danger from climate change is real, urgent and severe.  The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of land across the globe.”  The Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes that, as the largest user of energy in the U.S. Government, they must take steps toward achieving higher levels of efficiency, improve infrastructure resilience and foster a culture of conservation and awareness.

When it comes to achieving higher energy efficiency, the military faces a set of unique challenges given the highly dynamic and often austere operating environment that characterize a modern battlefield.  This is particularly true in military aviation where, due to the current limits of technology and extreme danger during the mission, there is often limited room to balance efficiency against flight safety concerns and mission effectiveness.  Despite these challenges, the U.S. military has taken major steps toward improving efficiency without impacting mission success.

Solar-Panel-in-AfghanistanDoD construction projects near Boston, Massachusetts include new building designs that achieve the highest levels of EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) energy efficiency certification called ENERGY STAR.   Not only are these designs 35% more efficient than traditional commercial buildings, but they release 35% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  On U.S. Military bases across the Southwest United States, large solar array fields are becoming commonplace and, in some cases, meet over 40% of the bases’ energy needs.  Efficiency has also found its way to the battlefield, where solar panel technology adapted for tents and backpacks is a familiar sight.  These rugged and

lightweight panels eliminate the need for ground forces to carry generators and fuel miles away from traditional supply routes, and allow soldiers to move further, faster and more quietly than before.  One final area where the military is embracing energy efficiency is new technology acquisition.  From rechargeabl
Improving the resilience of energy generation, storage and transportation systems is another critical step toward achieving greater overall system efficiency.  Resilience focuses on protecting our existing facilities, minimizing the impact from disruption and, in the event of attack, shortening the recovery time while reducing impact to the mission.  Part of strengthening resilience is increasing access to alternate supplies of energy. e radio batteries to more fuel efficient and versatile aircraft, new systems that capitalize on energy efficiency are becoming “force multipliers”, or factors that dramatically increases (hence, multiply) the effectiveness of an item or group.

Green Algae used in biofuel
Green Algae used in biofuel

A major energy initiative of the 21st century is the adaptation of biofuels for DoD use.  Biofuels, which are derived from sources such as green algae and non-food cooking oil blends, are a sustainable, clean-burning alternative to fossil fuels. The U.S. Navy showcased their “green fleet” initiative during a 2012 large-scale military exercise in the Pacific called RIMPAC.  During the exercise, over 200 aircraft and numerous ships utilized biofuel.  In 2012, the U.S. Air Force finished certification to fly all manned and unmanned aircraft on biofuel blends.  While biofuels are a demonstrated alternative to fossil fuels, the U.S. continues to explore more cost-effective and sustainable options.

Recent DoD campaigns and targeted education seminars have focused on establishing a culture of energy awareness and conservation at U.S. military bases.  These energy efficiency campaigns range from local level events to DoD-wide initiatives that recognize the strategic impact of smart conservation.  At the local level, bases are better managing waste by following the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance of reduce, reuse and recycle.  This step is saving energy and money, while conserving our environment.

As U.S. President Barack Obama pointed out in his 2013 State of the Union Address, “Today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.  After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to control our own energy future.  We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years.  We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good American jobs to show for it.  We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it.  And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.”   DoD steps to improve energy efficiency, increase infrastructure resilience and foster a culture of conservation and awareness are having huge impacts across military installations worldwide.  As we look to the future, for the sake of our children and future generations, the world must come together and take steps to combat climate change.

As Ukraine continues to modernize, they must consider some of the energy efficiency steps taken by the DoD.  Not only are these initiatives conserving energy while saving money, they are working toward the global campaign of becoming more responsible stewards of our natural resources.