U.S. and Spain Equip Second Megaport With Radiation Detectors

Press Release
Sep 27, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today the successful commencing of operations of radiation detection equipment at the Port of Valencia in Spain. Installed as part of NNSA's nonproliferation Megaports Initiative in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spanish Customs, and the Port Authority of Valencia, the specialized equipment will help to detect smuggled or illicit shipments of nuclear and other radiological materials. With this equipment the Port of Valencia will now be able to scan all import and export containers passing through the port for the presence of dangerous nuclear and radioactive materials.

“The commissioning of the Port of Valencia underscores the continued shared commitment of the U.S. and Spain to enhance global maritime security,” said Ken Baker, NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “This successful milestone marks continued progress in implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda and supports the U.S. global effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material and prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism.”

Valencia is the second port in Spain to become an operational Megaport, following the start of operations at the port of Algeciras in 2006. NNSA installed and tested the radiation detection equipment and associated communications system and provided training on equipment operations. Spanish Customs is now operating that radiation detection equipment and assessing and responding to radiation alarms. Over the next three years, NNSA will continue to work with Spain to provide continued training and sustainability support.

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 31 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.