Israel Begins Radiation Detection Efforts at Haifa Port

Press Release
Jan 23, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), and the Israel Port Company (IPC) announced today that initial operations of radiation detection equipment have commenced at Haifa Port, one of Israel's busiest seaports. The specialized equipment will help to detect smuggled or illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials that might move through this port.

"We are working closely with Israel to prevent nuclear terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," said William Tobey, deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. "The success of this project also reflects the dedication and hard work of the Israelis in designing and installing the radiation detection equipment."

If a container is flagged by radiation detectors, Israeli-developed technology would then allow for quick identification of the radioisotope that is involved. This ongoing pilot project will provide both countries with information on the best way to detect nuclear or radiological material as they continue to expand and cooperate in this important area.

The IPC's Chairman of the Board, Major Gen. (Res.) Yiftach Ron-Tal added, "We see the installation of the radiation detection portals as a critical piece of the port security regime that will ease the efficient flow of trade and will foster Israel's continuing economic growth."

The equipment was installed under a cost-sharing arrangement with the IPC and the Haifa Port Company. Under the cost-sharing arrangement, IPC funded the design, installation, integration and long-term maintenance of the radiation detection equipment; the Haifa Port Company will operate the detection equipment; and the IAEC will assist with long-term training efforts and equipment maintenance. NNSA procured the radiation detection equipment, developed the communications system, and helped to train HPC officials on operation and maintenance of the system.

Under its Megaports Initiative, NNSA provides specialized equipment that enhances countries' ability to deter, detect and interdict illicit shipments of special nuclear and other radioactive materials at ports. Around the world, the Megaports Initiative is currently operational in twelve ports; and additional ports in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East are scheduled to be operational in 2008.

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.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371