War games

The DTI is helping British software companies tap into the expertise of former Russian nuclear weapons designers by bringing them together at a major software show this week.

Software designers and programmers from the closed Russian cities of Sarov, Snezhinsk and Zheleznogorsk will be showcasing their technical capabilities at the European Games Network exhibition in London’s Docklands thanks to the DTI’s UK-Russia Closed Nuclear Cities Partnership (CNCP).

With outsourcing of software programming gaining popularity among UK companies in order to maintain their competitive edge, the CNCP is hopeful that some long-term commercial partnerships can be forged.

“Games software designers today are looking for increasingly sophisticated programmers with backgrounds in physics and advanced maths,” said Trade and Industry Minister Nigel Griffiths.

“These are exactly the skills that these former nuclear weapons scientists have who need to find ways to use their skills in peaceful pursuits,” added Griffiths. “By encouraging such partnerships we aim to help UK businesses stay competitive while reducing the risk to international security.”

The £6 million four-year CNCP programme is part of the UK’s contribution to a $20 billion pledge by G8 countries designed to counter proliferation of nuclear material, nuclear safety and ecological concerns in the former Soviet Union.

It aims to limit the spread of weapons of mass destruction by supporting the long-term economic viability of the 10 closed cities – set up in the Cold War to develop the Russian nuclear weapons programme – and promoting alternative employment opportunities for its numerous former nuclear weapons personnel.