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U.S., Bangladesh Commence Operations to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling at Port of Chittagong

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the successful installation and start of operations of radiation detection equipment at the Port of Chittagong, Bangladesh, a significant milestone in cooperative efforts worldwide to prevent nuclear terrorism.

The specialized equipment provided by NNSA scans shipping containers for the presence of potentially dangerous nuclear and other radioactive materials. Bangladesh now has the capability to scan more than 80% of all import and export containers, a major accomplishment at one of the highest-volume ports in South Asia.

“Our success in equipping the Port of Chittagong, one of the major shipping points in South Asia, highlights our shared commitment to keeping dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “This partnership with Bangladesh highlights the importance of working together as an international community to address the global threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism as we continue our commitment to implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”

Under a 2008 agreement between the U.S. and Bangladesh, NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program has been working with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Shipping, National Board of Revenue, Chittagong Port Authority, and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission to install radiation detection equipment that will deter, detect, and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials that might move through the Port of Chittagong. NNSA has now equipped 38 of its overall goal of 100 Megaports worldwide.

The Megaports Initiative’s work at the Port of Chittagong is part of NNSA’s SLD Program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports and seaports worldwide to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment. The SLD Program provides training to host government border guard officials and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. SLD also has a strong sustainability program to ensure the continued effective use of the equipment. NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than 350 sites and at 37 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.