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U.S., Jordan Commence Operations to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling at Port of Aqaba

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the successful installation and commencement of operations of radiation detection equipment at the Port of Aqaba in Jordan.

The specialized equipment, which scans loaded sea containers moving through the terminal for the presence of potentially dangerous nuclear and other radioactive materials, was installed as part of NNSA's Megaports Initiative in partnership with the Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission (JNRC). NNSA has now equipped more than one-third of its goal of 100 large seaports worldwide.

“Our partnership at the Port of Aqaba underscores a continued, shared commitment to combat the illicit transfer of nuclear and other radioactive material,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “With the start of operations at this port, we have now successfully installed detection equipment at one-third of the largest ports in the world, bringing us one step closer to implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”

The Port of Aqaba is the first site in Jordan to become operational. The United States and Jordan are in the process of installing radiation detection equipment at additional points of entry.  NNSA, through its Second Line of Defense (SLD) Core Program, is working closely with the JNRC to install radiation detection equipment at several land border crossings to further combat the smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials. 

“This initiative further strengthens Jordan’s nuclear safety and security, and enhances the JNRC’s role in advancing international nuclear security cooperation,” said JNRC Vice Chairman of the board of Directors, Dr. Saed Dababneh . “We are pleased to cooperate with our partner NNSA to prevent nuclear terrorism and proliferation.”

The work at the Port of Aqaba and at land border crossings are part of NNSA’s SLD Program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports and seaports to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment.  The SLD Program also provides training to host government border guard officials and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than 350 sites and at 34 Megaports around the world.

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 in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the 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.