PORT OF ALGECIRAS, SPAIN – During a formal commissioning ceremony, the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the government of Spain announced that radiation detection equipment is fully operational at one of Spain's busiest seaports. Installed as part of NNSA's nonproliferation Megaports Initiative, the specialized equipment will help to detect smuggled or illicit shipments of nuclear and other radiological materials. Since 2004, NNSA has been cooperating and working closely with the government of Spain's Customs and Tax Agency to install the equipment and train its operators.
"This commissioning demonstrates the commitment of both countries to preventing nuclear terrorism. Now that the program and equipment is up and running, we are working together to make not only the Spanish port safer, but also the entire global shipping network. It sends a strong deterrence signal to terrorists who would try to abuse the world's shipping channels to smuggle illicit nuclear material," said NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks.
NNSA's Megaports Initiative is aimed at preventing smuggled shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials through the global shipping network. It enhances capabilities at international ports to detect, deter and interdict illicit materials. Under this important nonproliferation program, NNSA works with international partners to install specialized radiation detection equipment and provide training to appropriate law enforcement officials.
The specialized radiation detection technology deployed under this program is based on technologies originally developed by NNSA's national laboratories as part of the U.S. government's overall efforts to guard against the proliferation of weapons materials. The Megaports Initiative is currently operational in six countries, and at various stages of implementation and negotiations with approximately 30 other countries around the world.
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.
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