NNSA, Djibouti Transition Radiation Detection System

Press Release
Mar 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently celebrated the transition of full responsibility to the government of Djibouti for the radiation detection system located at the Doraleh Container Terminal at the Port of Djibouti. The joint ceremony was held in Djibouti’s capital to mark the event attended by senior officials from Djibouti, the U.S., and Ethiopia. This transition reflects the strong commitment of Djibouti’s government to deter, detect, and interdict illicit or smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials in cargo containers shipped through the port.

“By taking responsibility for this system, the government of Djibouti will continue to be an important partner in securing both regional and international maritime shipping,” said Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “This transition marks not an end, but a strong beginning for future cooperation to keep dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators.”

In 2008, the NNSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and the Ministry of Equipment and Transportation (MET). Following the MOU, Djibouti’s National Security Service worked with NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) program to implement and operate a specialized system designed to scan cargo containers for dangerous nuclear and radiological materials at its seaport. The Coast Guard of the Republic of Djibouti has operated and maintained the system since 2011. SLD facilitated Djibouti’s transition to full responsibility for the system’s sustainability through operations and maintenance training, and “train-the-trainer” activities.

NNSA’s SLD program works to strengthen the capabilities of partner countries to combat the illicit trafficking of special nuclear and other radiological materials at international border crossings and checkpoints. SLD accomplishes its mission by providing partner countries with radiation detection equipment, communications systems, and training that enables them to respond effectively to radiation alarms. The program also provides partners with support to further develop their capability to operate and maintain these detections systems over the long-term. To date, SLD has equipped over 500 sites in more than 50 countries with radiation detection equipment.

This agreement is an important part of NNSA’s growing nuclear security cooperation on the African continent. NNSA is expanding its collaboration with a number of African countries to advance shared nuclear nonproliferation, safety, and security goals, in areas such as nuclear security, border and port security, radioactive waste, and environmental management.

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

For a fact sheet on NNSA’s efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, 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. 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.