NNSA, Argentina Transition Radiation Detection System

Press Release
May 19, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Government of Argentina recently completed the transition of full responsibility for the radiation detection systems located at the Port of Buenos Aires and Port of Dock Sud at an official signing in Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires. This transition reflects the strong commitment of Argentina’s government to deter, detect and interdict illicit or smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials in cargo containers shipped through the ports.

In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the Agreement between the Government of the Argentine Republic and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Cooperation to Prevent the Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear and other Radioactive Material with Argentina’s Administracion Federal de Ingresos Publicos (AFIP). Following the Agreement, Argentina’s AFIP International Affairs and Customs Divisions worked with NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) program to implement and operate a tailored detection system designed to scan nearly 99 percent of cargo containers for dangerous nuclear and radiological materials at its seaport. Buenos Aires Customs has operated and maintained the system since late 2012. SLD facilitated Argentina’s transition to full responsibility for the system’s sustainability through an 18-month period of support during which SLD provided maintenance, spare parts, technical assistance, training and advanced workshop opportunities.

NNSA’s SLD program works to strengthen the capabilities of partner countries to combat the illicit trafficking of special nuclear and other radiological materials at strategic international border crossings and checkpoints. SLD accomplishes its mission by providing partner countries with radiation detection equipment, communications systems and training that enables them to respond effectively to radiation alarms of concern. The program also provides partners with support to further develop their capability to operate and maintain these detection systems over the long-term. To date, SLD has equipped more than 500 sites in more than 50 countries with radiation detection equipment. To date, 374 sites have been transferred to full support of the partner country.

This agreement is an important part of NNSA’s growing nuclear security cooperation within Latin America. NNSA is expanding its collaboration within the region to advance shared nuclear nonproliferation, safety and security goals in areas such as nuclear security, border and port security, radioactive waste and environmental management.

For a fact sheet on NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program, click here.

For a fact sheet on NNSA’s efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, click here.

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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. 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 U.S. and abroad.