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U.S. Works With Georgia and Azerbaijan to Stop Nuclear and Radioactive Material Smuggling

New Equipment Will Help to Curb Nuclear Weapons and "Dirty Bombs" Trafficking

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As part of the overall U.S. nuclear security effort to counter the proliferation of weapons materials, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today that agreements have been signed with the governments of Georgia and Azerbaijan to install radiation detection and integrated communications equipment at multiple border crossings, airports and seaports throughout the two nations. The work will be carried out by NNSA's Second Line of Defense program.

"Improving security on all fronts, including stopping the smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material, is a critical part of the Bush administration's efforts in the global war on terrorism. It is through agreements with willing partners, like Georgia and Azerbaijan, that we will be able to keep nuclear weapons beyond the reach of terrorists," said NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Jerry Paul.

Second Line of Defense (SLD) is a worldwide program that uses detection and deterrence to minimize the risk of nuclear proliferation, illegal trafficking and terrorism. It works by installing radiation detection equipment and training personnel at strategic international border locations. Agreements have been signed or are being negotiated with other nations, including countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Recently, there have also been agreements signed with a number of countries under SLD's Megaports Initiative, which provides similar equipment and training to detect nuclear and radiological materials at key port facilities worldwide. Megaports partnerships exist with the Netherlands and Greece along with an additional twelve countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Discussions with other countries are currently underway.

NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency of the Department of Energy. It enhances U.S. national security through the military application of nuclear science, maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, promotes international nuclear nonproliferation and safety, reduces global danger from weapons of mass destruction, provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion, and oversees its national laboratories to maintain U.S. leadership in science and technology.

Media contact(s):
Bryan Wilkes, NNSA (202) 586-7371

Number: NA-05-35