U.S. and Djibouti Sign Agreement to Prevent Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Material

Press Release
Dec 11, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Republic of Djibouti's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and Ministry of Equipment and Transportation (MET) announced today the signing of an agreement that will allow the two governments to work together to prevent the smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in Djibouti, NNSA will work with the MAECI and the MET to help secure cargo containers passing through the Port of Djibouti.

"This agreement highlights the shared commitment of the United States and the Republic of Djibouti to combat nuclear terrorism," said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation William Tobey. "The Port of Djibouti plays an important role in the global maritime shipping system by linking Europe, the Far East, Africa and the Persian Gulf. Djibouti's strategic location as a crossroads between East and West underscores the importance of this agreement to increase international maritime security."

NNSA will provide radiation detection equipment to the Port of Djibouti, which will help detect the presence of illicit or smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials in cargo containers shipped through the port.  NNSA will also train the Djiboutian officials who will operate the detection equipment.

The Megaports Initiative is part of NNSA's Second Line of Defense Program, which aims to strengthen the capability of foreign governments to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials across international borders and through the global maritime shipping system. NNSA provides radiation detection equipment, training, and technical support to key international seaports to scan cargo containers for nuclear and other radioactive materials. Around the world, the Megaports Initiative is currently operational in 19 ports and work is underway at over 20 additional ports in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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.

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