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New Zealand to Support NNSA and Ukraine Effort to Fight Nuclear Terrorism

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today that it will team with New Zealand to combat nuclear terrorism around the world. Under an agreement signed with NNSA's Second Line of Defense (SLD) program, New Zealand will provide approximately $460,000 (U.S. dollars) for nuclear nonproliferation work in Ukraine.

The agreement facilitates cooperation between New Zealand and the United States as part of the G8 Global PartnershipAgainst the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. The international partnership was established in 2002 in Kananaskis, Canada to support specific cooperation projects, initially in Russia, to address non-proliferation, disarmament, counter-terrorism and nuclear safety issues, including threats posed by vulnerable, high-risk nuclear and other radioactive materials. Originally designed as a ten year program in which nations committed to raise up to $20 billion dollars to support such projects, the partnership is currently in its fifth year.

"Nuclear terrorism is a threat to all countries," said William Tobey, NNSA's deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation. "This partnership between New Zealand, Ukraine, and the United States greatly advances the international mission to counter nuclear and radiological threats. We appreciate New Zealand's generous support and contribution."

New Zealand's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's contribution to the SLD program will fund radiation detection equipment on Ukraine's border with Russia to deter nuclear smuggling and fight the proliferation of nuclear and radiological material that could be used in weapons of mass destruction or for "dirty bombs." In June 2006, New Zealand generously supported another nonproliferation initiative – the Elimination of Weapons Grade Plutonium Project – with a $308,000 contribution (U.S. dollars).

NNSA's Second Line of Defense program works with foreign governments at border crossings, airports and seaport to install specialized radiation detection equipment and train officials to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. To date, the program has installed equipment at over 100 sites around the world.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized 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 United States and abroad.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371