U.S. and Poland to Cooperate in Preventing the Illicit Trafficking of Radioactive Materials

Press Release
Jan 8, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work with the Ministry of Interior and Administration (MOIA) and Republic of Poland's Ministry of Finance (MOF) to prevent the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials.

The MOU will allow the NNSA to help equip Poland's strategic points of entry—border crossings, airports, and seaports—with new radiation detection systems and train Polish Border Guards and Customs in the use and maintenance of equipment, and work with the National Atomic Energy Agency to enhance its ability to provide technical support to front line officers .  The cooperation will strengthen the capability of Poland to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials across European Union borders.

"NNSA looks forward to beginning this border security effort with Poland to further secure its points of exit and entry.  We enjoy a collaborative relationship with the European Union on various security matters and accordingly anticipate a positive relationship with Poland in preventing nuclear smuggling," said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation William Tobey.

The border security work builds on previous cooperative efforts between Poland and NNSA.  The Office of Global Threat Reduction has worked with Poland to install security upgrades at two nuclear facilities, protect 49 high-priority vulnerable radiological sources and return 48.6 kilograms of Russian-origin fresh highly-enriched uranium.  Additionally, the Office of Nonproliferation and International Security is working with Poland on export control training for Customs and Border Guards.

The work will be performed by NNSA's Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports, and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment.  The SLD Program also provides training to host government border guard officials and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials.  NNSA has installed similar equipment at over 230 sites around the world.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise.  NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. 

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371