US, Kazakhstan Commission Radiation Detection Systems Aimed at Preventing Nuclear Smuggling

Press Release
Nov 16, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Kazakhstan Customs Control Committee (KCCC) recently held a ceremony to commission the specialized radiation detection equipment at Astana International Airport – a significant milestone in the joint effort to prevent the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials. The ceremony recognized the effective ongoing cooperation between the U.S. and the Republic of Kazakhstan, along with the generous financial contributions from New Zealand, Norway and the Republic of Korea.

Under a 2006 agreement between the U.S. and Kazakhstan, NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program has been working with the KCCC to install radiation detection equipment at 24 sites in Kazakhstan. The international financial contributions provided have been instrumental in allowing work to be completed at several key border crossings and international airports in Kazakhstan.

"We appreciate Kazakhstan's commitment to advancing our common international security goals," said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “Our collaboration with Kazakhstan is an important example of partnering with other countries in order to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, a key objective for the United States and the international community. We also recognize the valuable contributions provided by New Zealand, Norway and the Republic of Korea, which reflect our shared commitment to strengthen global efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear material and impede the efforts of terrorists and proliferators to acquire dangerous radioactive materials.”

Radiation detection systems are an integral component of border control and the international nonproliferation regime, illustrated by the financial contributions that make these efforts possible. The radiation detection systems installed at Astana International Airport and across Kazakhstan will improve global security by enhancing the country’s capacity to detect, deter and interdict nuclear smuggling.

The financial contributions in Kazakhstan made through SLD reflect the broader collaboration between New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Korea and the U.S. as part of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, an initiative created by the G8 at the Kanaskis Summit in June 2002. These types of financial and in-kind contributions from international partners support NNSA’s nonproliferation efforts around the world.

NNSA’s SLD program works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports and seaports to install specialized radiation detection equipment, mobile radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment. The program also provides training to host government law enforcement officers and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials.

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. 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.