U.S. and United Arab Emirates Sign Megaports Initiative Agreement Aimed at Preventing Nuclear Smuggling

Press Release
Dec 16, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week signed an agreement in Abu Dhabi to begin a cooperative effort to detect, deter, and interdict illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material.

The agreement, signed by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and UAE Deputy Minister of Interior Saif Abdullah Al Shafar, paves the way for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to work with the UAE Ministry of Interior and other government agencies in UAE to install radiation detection equipment and associated infrastructure at the ports of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. This cooperative framework also will train UAE 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 the Department of Energy's efforts to fulfill President Obama's unwavering commitment to securing vulnerable nuclear material and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists and smugglers," said Deputy Secretary Poneman.  "The UAE plays a critical role in the region's maritime shipping and the United States appreciates its partnership in this important mission."

NNSA has ongoing efforts in various countries in the Middle East, where it is working to expand and strengthen the Second Line of Defense cooperation throughout the region.  This agreement builds on cooperation established in 2005 under a Megaports agreement with Dubai.

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 at 28 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. Visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/ for more information.

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NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371