NNSA, China Sign Agreement to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling

Press Release
Aug 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently signed an agreement with the People’s Republic of China’s General Administration of China Customs (GACC) to renew cooperative efforts to deter, detect and interdict the illicit smuggling of special nuclear and other radiological materials. The agreement was signed by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and China’s Minister of the GACC, YU Guangzhou, during the annual U.S.–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington.NNSA, China Sign Agreement to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling

“China plays a key role securing both regional and international maritime shipping,” said Secretary Moniz. “Our continued cooperation will be a critical step forward in enhancing security in the region and the global maritime network. The signing of this agreement confirms our shared commitment to important global nonproliferation efforts that will help to keep dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators.”

The agreement makes it possible for the NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) program to work with the GACC on extending radiation detection systems to high-priority seaports and other ports of entry. The agreement also enables NNSA and GACC to enhance the professionalism and technical skills of the customs officers operating these systems. This specialized equipment is designed to scan cargo containers for dangerous nuclear and radiological materials.

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 international border crossings and checkpoints. SLD accomplishes its mission by providing partner countries with radiation detection equipment, communications systems and training that will enable them to respond effectively to radiation alarms. The program also provides partners with support to further develop their capability to operate and maintain these detections systems over the long-term. To date, SLD has equipped 500 sites in more than 50 countries with radiation detection equipment.

This agreement is an important part of NNSA’s extensive nuclear security cooperation with China. NNSA collaborates with a number of Chinese agencies and institutes to advance shared nuclear nonproliferation, safety and security goals, in areas such as nuclear emergency management, nuclear energy, nuclear security, nuclear safeguards, export controls, nuclear materials analysis, border and port security, radioactive waste and environmental management. Additional cooperation includes upgrading the physical protection of sites with nuclear and radiological materials and converting highly enriched uranium fueled research reactors to low enriched uranium fuel.

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.