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Press Release

U.S. Transitions Radiation Detection System to Dominican Republic
Sep 27, 2011

Radiation Detection Project Designed to Help Prevent Smuggling of Nuclear Material



SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC –The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) officially transferred a radiation detection system to Dominican Customs, the Dirección General de Aduanas (DGA), Dominican Republic today during a ceremony at the Port of Caucedo. Representatives from NNSA, DGA, terminal operator DP World, and the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo highlighted the strong partnership between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic while reaffirming a shared commitment to prevent nuclear smuggling across the globe.

“Today’s ceremony demonstrates the continued success of working as partners to enhance local capabilities and prevent the smuggling of dangerous nuclear and radioactive materials through the global shipping network,” said NNSA’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, Anne Harrington. “Through close cooperation with our counterparts in the Dominican Republic, we successfully built a radiation detection program that is truly sustainable and will enhance local and global maritime security for years to come.”

As part of the Megaports Initiative, NNSA installed and tested the radiation detection system at the Port of Caucedo in 2008. This equipment is able to scan nearly 100% of containers passing through the port. Over the past three years, NNSA has provided maintenance and training support as DGA assumed full responsibility for operating the system and responding to radiation alarms. NNSA typically provides its partners with three years of sustainability support to ensure a successful transition of equipment and procedures. During the sustainability period, NNSA works with partner countries to ensure that they have the skills and technical expertise necessary to maintain their radiation detection systems over the long-term. After the sustainability period, NNSA remains engaged with partner countries through workshops and technical exchanges.

The Megaports Initiative’s work at the Port of Caucedo is part of NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program, 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