NNSA Conducts Radiological Training at Newly Operational Megaport in Djibouti

Press Release
Apr 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that it has concluded a week-long training course in countering the illicit movement of nuclear and other radiological material with the Government of Djibouti. This week’s training was jointly conducted by NNSA’s Offices of Emergency Operations and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and is part of the agency’s continued efforts to work with our international partners to implement President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.  

“These joint initiatives provide countries with necessary knowledge and expertise from alarm detection through adjudication and enables one stop shopping for compatibility of national, regional and international radiological detection and response programs,” said NNSA’s Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. “Combining our nuclear nonproliferation programs with our response capabilities highlights the ways NNSA is leveraging all of our resources to implement the President’s nuclear security agenda and support our international partners.”

The training for the Government of Djibouti integrated training for customs and port officials with the in-country national authority and international community, including reachback to NNSA and other DOE assets, such as radiological triage, radiation medical assistance, and atmospheric plume modeling.

This training builds upon the recent success of NNSA’s Megaports Initiative to equip the Port of Djibouti with radiation detection equipment.  This specialized equipment, which scans loaded sea containers moving through the port for the presence of potentially dangerous nuclear and other radioactive materials, was installed in partnership with the Djibouti Ministry of Equipment and Transport, Customs, National Security, and Coast Guard.  The Djiboutian government began operating the system in mid-March and is now responding to all radiation alarms.

“Djibouti was our first Megaports partner in Africa and with the start of operations, containers are now being scanned at one of the most important shipping hubs on the Horn of Africa,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “Our partnership with Djibouti is a terrific example of the importance of working together as an international community to address global threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism as we continue our commitment to implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.” 

The Megaports Initiative work at the Port of Djibouti is part of NNSA’s SLD 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 also provides training to host government border guard officials and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than over 400 sites, including 36 Megaports around the world.

Recently, President Obama submitted to Congress the Administration’s FY 2012 budget request, which seeks to make critical investments in our nation’s nuclear security. It requests $11.8 billion, including $2.5 billion for NNSA’s nonproliferation programs to detect, secure, safeguard, dispose of, and control nuclear and radiological material around the world, and more than $222 million in NNSA’s nuclear counterterrorism and emergency response programs. Together, these requests highlight the critical role NNSA and its programs play in implementing the President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.

For more information on NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program, click here, and for more information on NNSA’s Office of Emergency Response, 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.