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Press Release

U.S., Cambodia Commence Operations to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling at Port of Sihanoukville
Sep 8, 2011

Equipment gives Cambodia the capability to scan 100 percent of all import, export containers



WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the successful installation and start of operations of radiation detection equipment at the Port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. With the specialized equipment provided by NNSA, Cambodia now has the capability to scan 100 percent of all import and export containers passing through the port for the presence of potentially dangerous nuclear and other radioactive materials, a major accomplishment in cooperative efforts worldwide to prevent nuclear terrorism.

“Our close cooperation with the Government of Cambodia on the Megaports project at the Port of Sihanoukville reflects our shared commitment to preventing dangerous nuclear and radiological materials from falling into the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “The successful start of operations at the Sihanoukville port underscores the significant progress that can be made in securing the global maritime system and meeting President Obama’s nuclear security agenda when we work closely with our partners in the international community.”

Under a 2009 agreement between the United States and the Kingdom of Cambodia, NNSA’s Megaports Initiative has been working with the Secretariat of the National Counter Terrorism Committee, General Department of Customs and Excise, and the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port to install radiation detection equipment that will deter, detect, and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials that might move through the Port of Sihanoukville. NNSA has now equipped 39 of its overall goal of 100 Megaports worldwide.

The Megaports Initiative’s work at the Port of Sihanoukville is part of NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program (SLD), which works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports and seaports worldwide to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment. The SLD Program provides training to host government border guard officials and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. SLD also has a strong sustainability program to ensure the continued effective use of the equipment. NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than 350 sites and at 39 Megaports around the world.

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