United States and Slovak Republic Cooperate to Thwart Nuclear Smuggling

Press Release
Oct 29, 2007

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - The U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava and the Customs Directorate of the Slovak Republic, announced today that radiation detection equipment is fully operational at three checkpoints along the Slovakia border with Ukraine.

"Slovakia and the United States are working closely together to stop nuclear smuggling. This partnership plays a critical role in the global fight against the illicit trafficking of nuclear material and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," said NNSA's Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation William Tobey.

Under a 2006 memorandum of understanding between the United States and the Slovak Republic, NNSA's Second Line of Defense program is providing the Slovak Customs Directorate with radiation detection equipment, related communications equipment, and training at five border crossings. Slovakia will fund and perform the equipment installation, while NNSA will provide designs, advice, and limited oversight.

Slovakia originally requested assistance in upgrading their monitors to include neutron detection capabilities. After an inspection by a team of U.S. experts, NNSA offered to support newer radiation detectors that are capable of detecting a broader array of gamma and neutron sources, including highly enriched uranium and plutonium. This new equipment will better enable Slovakia to detect, deter and prevent the transfer of nuclear and other radioactive material across their border and into the European Union. In addition to the three sites completed, two additional sites in Slovakia will be completed in the spring of 2008.

NNSA's Second Line of Defense Program works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and train officials to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. Similar equipment has been installed at over 160 sites around the world.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized 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 United States and abroad.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371