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US, China Commission Radiation Detection Center, Enhance Efforts to Counter Nuclear Smuggling

QINHUANGDAO, China – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) this week held a ceremony to announce the successful completion of the Qinhuangdao Radiation Detection Training Center (RDTC) and the commencement of the center’s first class for China Customs officers. The opening of the RDTC is part of the longstanding cooperation between NNSA and the General Administration of Customs, China (GACC) in their joint efforts to counter nuclear terrorism.

Under a 2011 agreement between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program has been working with the GACC and the Qinhuangdao Customs Training School to install radiation detection equipment and develop a specialized curriculum. The training will promote and enhance the skills and knowledge base of customs officers charged with detecting and interdicting illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials at key points of entry. The first class at the RDTC will be comprised of over 25 officers representing nine major Chinese seaports.

“This is a significant achievement in the fight against nuclear terrorism and for President Obama’s nuclear security agenda,” said NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Neile Miller, who was on hand for the commencement. “China is an invaluable partner in nuclear security, and today’s ceremony highlights our close cooperation on our shared security goals. The RDTC and its curriculum are impressive, and I was glad I was able to see them in person.”

With the completion of the RDTC and its associated curriculum, the PRC now has a dedicated training facility that will enhance the PRC’s capabilities to deliver high-quality, specialized training. This training will assist GACC’s officers as they work to detect and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials along the PRC’s land borders and seaports.

The work at the RDTC builds off of an earlier SLD-GACC joint effort to install a radiation detection system at the Port of Yangshan. This work was completed in December 2011. On the sidelines of this ceremony, Marty Schoenbauer, director of the Department of Energy’s Beijing office, also signed a Joint Transition Plan defining a collaborative approach to transitioning long-term responsibility for the repair, maintenance and sustainment of the radiation detection system at the Port of Yangshan from SLD to GACC.

The work at the Qinhuangdao Customs Training School is part of NNSA’s SLD Program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports and seaports worldwide 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 425 sites and at 43 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. 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.