U.S., Cameroon to Cooperate to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling

Press Release
Nov 4, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC –The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that it has signed an agreement with Cameroon to begin a cooperative effort to deter, detect and interdict illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive materials. U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Jackson and Cameroon Minister of External Affairs, H.E. Henri Eyebe Ayissi signed a memorandum of understanding during a ceremony in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The agreement, the first NNSA has signed with a nation in West Africa, paves the way for NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) program to work with the Ministry of Transport and other agencies in Cameroon to install radiation detection equipment and a communications system at the Port of Douala.

“This agreement represents our shared commitment to keeping dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators,” said Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “This landmark partnership with Cameroon is a major step toward achieving our goal of equipping 100 ports with radiation detection equipment by 2016 and implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda. We look forward to working with our partners in Cameroon to enhance safety and security across West Africa and here in the United States.”

In addition to providing and installing equipment, NNSA will train Cameroonian officials and fund the initial maintenance of this equipment.  NNSA is working to expand its SLD Program efforts throughout Africa.

NNSA’s Second Line of Defense program works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports and seaports to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment. Through its SLD program, NNSA 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 350 sites and at 34 megaports around the world.

For a fact sheet on NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program, 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.