After the fall of the USSR, the closed cities of the Soviet Union ceased receiving so much funding to maintain the structures and lives of the residents and employees. Despite attempts by Moscow to create self-sustainable infrastructure, the attempts ultimately failed. RANSAC, now the Partnership for Global Security, responded by launching the Nuclear Cities Initiative. The initiative was brought about after a 1997 report by RANSAC recommended action to prevent the 'nuclear know-how' of the workers in the cities falling into undesirable hands. US President Bill Clinton and Russian Leader Boris Yeltsin made the deal in September 1998, confirming their approval of the overall concept. $15 million was procured from American assistance programmes in 1999, but a Russian financial crisis and Congress' decision to halve funding to $7.5 million reduced funding to the project.
The project at first worked only on a few of the cities; Russia disallowed development elsewhere until success could be proven in a handful of cities first. In 2001, the US General Accounting Office criticised the progress made so far, and recommended merging NCI and the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention into a single programme to improve efficiency. By the end of the Clinton administration, over $30 million had been secured for the project, but this was heavily cut by the following Bush administration who reduced expenditure to $6.6 million. However, the 2002 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which merged IPP and NCI, resulted in a substantial increase in funding to $42 million as it brought funding from the Russian Transition Initiatives budget, which was further increased by $15 million after the 9/11 attacks.