U.S. and Morocco Work to Minimize Threats and Expand Cooperation on Nuclear Incident Response

Press Release
Jan 15, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today completed cooperative training exercises in Morocco at the National Center for Nuclear Energy, Science and Technologies (CNESTEN) in Rabat.  The four day effort included training in plume modeling, emergency operations center development and infrastructure, training and demonstration on specific radiation detection equipment, and exercise development. This training is part of the preparation for an exercise to be conducted under the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.  More than 80 representatives from Moroccan agencies participated.

"NNSA's work with Morocco as part of our broader effort under the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism to build and enhance the global capacity to prevent and respond to nuclear and radiological emergencies," said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol.  "With more than sixty years of expertise in handling, securing and detecting nuclear material, NNSA is uniquely equipped to share expertise and collaborate with foreign counterparts on these global security issues.  It is an important example of our nation's investment in nuclear security providing the tools tackle broader national and international challenges."

In his Prague speech in April, President Obama noted that "the most immediate and extreme threat to global security" is a terrorist acquiring a nuclear weapon.  Enhanced international cooperation with Morocco is an important step in countering that threat.

This week's training builds on cooperation outlined at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in September 2009, where NNSA Associate Administrator Joseph Krol signed a statement of intent (SOI) with Morocco's CNESTEN. The SOI outlined mutual commitments aimed at minimizing the actual or potential radiological consequences to health, environment and property of an event involving nuclear or radiological materials worldwide.

To date, NNSA has worked with emergency response organizations in more than 75 countries and nine international organizations to address potential radiological emergencies and nuclear incidents.  This international cooperation involves technical exchanges, mutual training events, jointly conducted exercises and emergency management assistance.

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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. Visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/ for more information.

 

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