WASHINGTON, D.C. – In just four years, all of Russia's official international border crossings, including airports, seaports, railways and land crossings, will be equipped with radiation detection devices to prevent nuclear smuggling in or out of the country. As a part of a landmark agreement signed between the United States and Russia, both the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS) will pay for and install the sensitive detection equipment.
"As our counterproliferation and anti-terrorism partnership with Russia grows stronger, the security provided for through this agreement will not only make Russia safer, but it will also increase the security of the United States and our allies in the region," said NNSA's Acting Administrator Bill Ostendorff.
Under the new accord, the United States and Russia will share the security costs, with each providing approximately half of the funding, and all of the crossings will be secured by 2011 - six years ahead of schedule. The agreement also covers the long-term sustainability of the installations, ensuring that Russia will maintain and repair the equipment into the future. From 2009 to 2013, NNSA will transition over to Russia the maintenance and repair of the NNSA provided equipment.
NNSA, through its Second Line of Defense program, is working cooperatively with FCS to secure approximately 350 border crossings in Russia by installing fixed radiation portal monitors that can detect smuggled nuclear and radiological material, providing handheld detection instruments, and conducting training programs for Russian customs officials.
FCS reported that in 2006 there were 50,000 responses to alarms in Russia from fixed portal monitors and hand held equipment provided by NNSA and the FCS. Of these alarms, over 480 cases of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive material, including goods with unacceptable levels of ionizing radiation, were identified and responded to by the appropriate Russian authorities. Russia began installing radiation control equipment at its crossing points in 1996.
NNSA's Second Line of Defense program works with foreign governments at border crossings, airports and seaports to install specialized radiation detection equipment and train officials to detect and respond to smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce 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 United States and abroad.
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