U.S. and Vietnam Agree to Secure Seaport Cargo

Press Release
Jul 2, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and Vietnam today signed an agreement in Hanoi to begin a cooperative effort to deter, detect and interdict illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material.

NNSA's Bill Kilmartin briefs reporters at the Foreign Press CenterThe agreement paves the way for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to work with the Ministry of Finance’s General Department of Customs and other government ministries in Vietnam to install radiation detection equipment and an associated communications system at the port of Cai Mep in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

“This agreement represents a major step toward achieving our goal of equipping 100 ports with radiation detection equipment by 2015 and implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda,” said Kenneth E. Baker, NNSA’s Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for NNSA's Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “Our partnership with Vietnam will greatly strengthen our capability to prevent nuclear and radiological smuggling through the maritime system in a key, strategic region of the world. We appreciate Vietnam’s efforts and commitment to keeping these dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators.”

In addition to the work at Cai Mep, NNSA and the Ministry of Finance’s General Department of Customs may collaborate on installing radiation detection equipment at other ports in Vietnam in the future. NNSA will also train Vietnamese officials on the use of the equipment and provide for maintenance of the equipment for a specified period.

This effort is part of the 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 230 sites and at 30 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. Visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/ for more information.