United States and the Republic of Korea Partner to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling

Press Release
Sep 16, 2010

WASHINGTON D.C.– The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on preventing nuclear smuggling. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and Korea Customs Service Commissioner Yoon Young-sun signed the memorandum at a ceremony at U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington.

This agreement will expand the cooperative effort initiated under the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and Korean Customs Service Joint Declaration of Principles to enhance the security of container cargo. The agreement paves the way for NNSA, through its Second Line of Defense Program’s Megaports Initiative, to work with Korean Customs to install radiation detection equipment and associated infrastructure at other terminals at the Port of Busan.

“The Megaports Agreement signed today strengthens the United States’ and the Republic of Korea’s joint commitment to the safety and security of our nations,” said Deputy Secretary Poneman. “The Megaports Initiative is a critical part of NNSA's efforts to implement President Obama's goal to secure vulnerable nuclear material and keep it out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators. The success of this program is due in no small part to the continued and future cooperation and support from partners such as the Republic of Korea.”

NNSA is working to expand and strengthen the Second Line of Defense Program efforts throughout East Asia.

NNSA’s Megaports Initiative aims to strengthen the capability of foreign governments to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials transiting 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. The installation of radiation detection systems in South Korea represents a significant step forward for the Megaports Initiative, which is now operational at 31 ports around the world. Work is underway at additional ports in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa with the goal of equipping 100 ports by 2016.

Additional information on NNSA’s Megaports Initiative is available online.

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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.