U.S. and Estonia Cooperate to Prevent Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Material

Press Release
Feb 25, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and Estonia announced today their agreement to coordinate efforts to prevent nuclear smuggling by installing radiation detection equipment at multiple border crossings in Estonia.  The agreement expands on similar U.S.-Estonian cooperation.

The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been working with the Estonian Tax and Customs Board over the past several years to maintain previously installed radiation detection equipment.  The agreement between NNSA and the Estonian Tax and Customs Board will allow NNSA to install new, improved radiation detection and integrated communications equipment at multiple border crossings, airports and seaports in Estonia, as well as to provide related training on the use of this equipment.

"NNSA is committed to detecting and deterring attempts to smuggle nuclear materials or devices into the United States or other countries around the world," said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation William Tobey.  "Our agreement with Estonia is another opportunity to build upon our international partnerships to do so."

Director General Enriko Aav signed the agreement on behalf of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, and U.S. Ambassador to Estonia Dave Phillips signed on behalf of the NNSA.

"Estonia's borders demarcate the edge of the European Union. By signing this document, the United States and Estonia are agreeing to a commitment to keep dangerous nuclear and radiological material out of the hands of terrorists and criminals, for the greater good of European and U.S. citizens alike," said Ambassador Philips.

NNSA's Second Line of Defense Program works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and train officials to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials.  Similar equipment has been installed at over 160 sites 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.

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