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US, UK, Afghanistan, Tajikistan Cooperate to Strengthen Radiological Security

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the completion of a workshop to locate, identify and secure radioactive sources within Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Co-sponsored by the United Kingdom, this workshop builds on a strong foundation of radiological security work in Tajikistan.

The workshop was led by experts from NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and included participants from Afghanistan’s Atomic Energy High Commissioner and Customs Department, and Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security, Ministry of Interior Affairs, Department of Emergency and Civil Defense, and Nuclear and Radiation Safety Agency, among others. The broad representation demonstrates the importance placed on the security of radiological sources in both countries. GTRI’s search and secure program provided a five-day training course and a suite of equipment for the detection and characterization of radiological sources. This enables partner countries to search for, inventory and recover radiological sources to secure storage.

“The strong partnership between the United States, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan and Tajikistan is a tangible demonstration of our four nations’ commitment to the global campaign to prevent terrorists and proliferators from acquiring dangerous nuclear and radiological material,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “Joint efforts like this allow our countries to combine resources and expand our progress toward strengthening radiological security and countering the threat of radiological proliferation.”

“The U.K. values our cooperation with NNSA very highly and I am pleased to witness the successful completion of one of our many collaborative efforts,” said Richard Hardiman, Head, U.K. Global Threat Reduction Programme.

The workshop is made possible in part by a recent $3.5 million contribution by the U.K. to GTRI. The U.K.’s contribution, announced in June in Washington, D.C., supports the conduct of this Search and Secure workshop in Tajikistan as well as other GTRI projects in Uzbekistan and Belarus. The U.K. has a long history of partnering with NNSA and GTRI. To date, the U.K. has provided more than $13 million to GTRI and more than $26 million to NNSA’s other nonproliferation efforts around the world.

The U.K.-funded project provides an immediate security and safety benefit and ensures that Tajikistan and Afghanistan have the tools and skills to identify, secure and remove radiological material in the future.

GTRI works to reduce and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological material located at civilian sites worldwide. GTRI achieves permanent threat reduction through converting research reactors and isotope production facilities from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, removing and disposing of excess nuclear and radiological materials, and protecting high priority nuclear and radiological materials from theft and sabotage.

For a fact sheet on NNSA’s GTRI 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. 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.