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U.S., Bulgaria Partner to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Ministry of Interior (MOI) of the Republic of Bulgaria today announced the commissioning of mobile radiation detection equipment to be deployed throughout Bulgaria as part of the cooperative effort to prevent the smuggling of nuclear materials.

In a ceremony today in Sofia, NNSA Assistant Deputy Administrator for International Material Protection and Cooperation David Huizenga, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria James Warlick, and Bulgarian Minister of the Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov highlighted the deployment of the new mobile detectors as an example of the cooperation between the two countries to secure nuclear and radiological material.

“Working with our partners in Bulgaria and around the world to deploy fixed and mobile radiation detection equipment is critical to our shared effort to prevent nuclear terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington.  “By locking down nuclear materials and preventing terrorists or would-be proliferators from smuggling them across international borders, we are working to implement President Obama’s unprecedented nuclear security agenda while promoting peace and security around the world.”

A 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Bulgaria enables NNSA's Second Line of Defense (SLD) program to partner with MOI to combat nuclear smuggling by installing radiation detection equipment at border crossings and other points of entry, conducting border security training, and holding technical workshops with law enforcement agencies in Bulgaria. 

As part of that agreement, NNSA provided the government of Bulgaria two vans and two backpacks equipped with radiation detection equipment and hand-held detectors to assist front-line personnel to detect, interdict and identify radioactive material.

NNSA's SLD program works with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. NNSA has installed similar equipment at nearly 400 sites around the world.

For a fact sheet on NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program, click here.

To see a slide show of photos from the commissioning, 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.  NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce 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.