WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and the Lebanese Republic today signed an agreement in Beirut to begin a cooperative effort to detect, deter, and interdict illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. The agreement paves the way for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to work with the Lebanese Customs Administration and other government agencies in Lebanon to install radiation detection equipment and associated infrastructure at the port of Beirut and the port of Tripoli.
Under this cooperative framework, NNSA and the Lebanese Customs Administration may also collaborate on installing radiation detection equipment at other points of entry in Lebanon in the future. NNSA will also work with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Commission to equip land border crossings. In addition to providing equipment and related infrastructure, NNSA will also train Lebanese officials on the use of the equipment and provide for maintenance of the equipment for a specified period.
"This agreement represents a major step forward in our efforts to prevent global smuggling of radiological and nuclear materials because of Lebanon's geostrategic position as an east-west transit point for goods and people," said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation William Tobey. "NNSA appreciates Lebanon's partnership in this critical mission."
NNSA has ongoing efforts in various countries in the Middle East where it is working to expand and strengthen Second Line of Defense cooperation throughout the region.
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 over 230 sites around the world.
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.
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