( RIA Novosti ) - The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a defense policy bill authorizing $178 million for nuclear security in Russia.
Of the total allocated sum, $93 million is to be spent on destroying strategic offensive armaments in Russia, with about $48 million set aside for the storage of nuclear weapons and some $38 million for the safe transportation of nuclear arms under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
The program is designed to help Russia and other ex-Soviet states secure sensitive nuclear, chemical and biological materials in order to prevent both accidents and the weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups.
The bill was passed by the House of Representatives 370-49 on Wednesday, but has yet to be approved by the Senate and signed by President George W. Bush. It sets overall U.S. spending on nuclear and chemical security measures in former Soviet states at $428 million, up $80 million on 2007.
Other countries have also made contributions to nuclear security programs, including to decommission Russian nuclear submarines, as well as shut down plutonium production facilities, regarded as a nuclear nonproliferation threat and a major safety risk.
The program envisages their replacement with fossil fuel energy plants to provide heating and employment in nearby areas.
This year saw Russia raise spending on nuclear and radiation safety tenfold, from $7.4 million in 2006 to $110 million, according to the country's nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko.
The bill sets the United States' overall defense budget at $964 billion for 2008.