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US, New Zealand Collaborate to Combat Trafficking of Nuclear Materials

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced a collaboration with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to provide mobile radiation detection equipment to countries in Latin America, South East Asia and Africa. This is the fifth joint NNSA-New Zealand project under a bilateral memorandum of understanding, as a result of the 26-member G8 Global Partnership (GP) Against the Spread of Weapons and Material of Mass Destruction. The joint project supports the GP Nuclear and Radiological Security Sub-Working Group’s efforts to efficiently match the resources and capabilities of GP members with identified security needs.

“The United States and New Zealand share a strong commitment to important global nonproliferation efforts aimed at keeping dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “New Zealand’s contributions will help establish the capacity for mobile radiation detection operations with law enforcement and other internal security organizations, which will complement existing national capacity to combat illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials.”

Under the agreement, New Zealand’s MFAT and NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program (SLD) will jointly select specific partner countries that are both strategic to the shared global mission to receive mobile detection equipment and associated training through the SLD program.  In addition to the equipment, SLD and MFAT will collaborate in the planning and delivery of associated workshops and exercises. Where appropriate, both NNSA and MFAT will provide subject matter experts and related speakers for these activities.

NNSA’s SLD program works to strengthen the capabilities of partner countries to combat the illicit trafficking of special nuclear and other radiological materials at international border crossings and checkpoints. SLD accomplishes its mission by providing partner countries with radiation detection equipment, communications systems, and training that will enable them to respond effectively to radiation alarms. The program also provides partners with support to further develop their indigenous capability to operate and maintain these detections systems over the long-term. To date, SLD has equipped 500 sites in more than 50 countries with radiation detection equipment.

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.