U.S. and Dominican Republic Start Radiation Detection Operations at the Port of Caucedo

Press Release
Nov 13, 2008

U.S. and Dominican Republic Start Radiation Detection Operations at the Port of CaucedoRadiation Detection Project will Help Prevent Smuggling of Nuclear Material

CAUCEDO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Today, the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) participated in the commissioning of Megaports radiation detection equipment at the port of Caucedo in the Dominican Republic. This specialized equipment, installed by NNSA in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Customs (the Dirección General de Aduanas) and DP World, detects the presence of dangerous nuclear and other radioactive materials and will help to secure cargo containers passing through the port.

"I am pleased to count the Dominican Republic as another partner in the worldwide effort to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism," said Deputy Administrator William Tobey.  "The start of radiation detection at the port of Caucedo is another milestone in NNSA's efforts to enhance the global ability to deter, detect and interdict illicit shipments of special nuclear and other radioactive materials."

NNSA installed and tested the radiation detection equipment and the associated communications system, as well as provided training activities on operations and maintenance with Dominican Customs and DP World.  Dominican Customs is now successfully operating the radiation detection equipment.  It is anticipated that this equipment will be able to scan virtually all containers passing through the Port of Caucedo, a large trans-shipment hub for the region.  NNSA will continue to work with the Dominican Republic over the next several years to provide continued training and sustainability support.

The Megaports Initiative is part of NNSA's Second Line of Defense Program, which aims to strengthen the capability of foreign governments to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials across international borders and through the global maritime shipping system.  The Megaports Initiative provides radiation detection equipment, training, and technical support to key international seaports to scan cargo containers for nuclear and other radioactive materials.

Around the world, NNSA's Megaports Initiative is currently operational in nineteen ports and work is underway at over twenty additional ports in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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