U.S. and Cambodia Agree to Secure Seaport Cargo

Press Release
Dec 14, 2009

U.S. and Cambodia Agree to Secure Seaport Cargo Agreement Aimed at Preventing Nuclear Smuggling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and Cambodia today signed an agreement in Phnom Penh 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 Secretariat of the National Counter Terrorism Committee and other government agencies in Cambodia to install radiation detection equipment and associated infrastructure at the Port of Sihanoukville. In addition to providing equipment and related infrastructure, NNSA will also train Cambodian officials, including customs, on the use of the equipment and provide for maintenance of the equipment for a specified period.

"This agreement will help NNSA meet its goal of equipping 100 ports with radiation detection equipment by 2015 and play a critical role in NNSA's efforts to implement President Obama's nuclear security agenda," said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino.  "Our cooperation with Cambodia to strengthen the global capability to prevent nuclear and radiological smuggling throughout the global maritime system will help keep vulnerable nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators."

The inclusion of Cambodia in the Megaports Initiative will increase international maritime security, particularly in light of the strategic location of Sihanoukville in Southeast Asia.

The work is part of NNSA's Second Line of Defense Program's Megaports Initiative, which 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 Cambodia represents a significant step forward for the Megaports Initiative, which is now operational at 28 ports around the world.  Work is underway at additional ports in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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. Visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/ for more information.

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