U.S., Lithuania Expand Cooperation to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling

Press Release
Feb 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Republic of Lithuania today announced that they have signed an Implementation Agreement on Cooperation in Preventing Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material.  Lithuania’s State Border Guard Service under the Ministry of the Interior will work with NNSA to implement the agreement. The agreement was announced days after President Obama unveiled a budget request that includes $2.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2012 and $14.2 billion over the next five years to support NNSA’s nuclear nonproliferation programs.

Since 2003, NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) and the State Border Guard Service of Lithuania have been working to upgrade radiation detection equipment at select sites. Today’s agreement will expand that cooperation and strengthen the Lithuania’s capability to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials in the Baltic region. As part of this agreement, NNSA will provide the government of Lithuania radiation portal monitors, handheld radiation detectors and comprehensive training to assist front-line personnel to detect, interdict and identify radioactive material.

“Our continued partnership with Lithuania and this latest agreement represents our shared effort to prevent dangerous nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “By preventing terrorists or would-be proliferators from smuggling nuclear materials across international borders, we are working to implement President Obama’s unprecedented nuclear security agenda while promoting peace and security around the world.”

The agreement will be implemented by NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports, and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment. The SLD Program 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 400 sites in 50 countries around the world.

The FY 2012 budget request submitted to Congress earlier this week requests $2.5 billion in FY 2012 and $14.2 billion over the next five years to reduce the global nuclear threat by detecting, securing, safeguarding, disposing and controlling nuclear and radiological material, as well as promoting the responsible application of nuclear technology and science. It includes $263.8 million for the Second Line of Defense Program, highlighting the critical role NNSA and its nonproliferation programs play in implementing the President’s nuclear security agenda. 

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.