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US Department of Energy Provides Nuclear Security Assistance for 2004 Athens Olympics

ATHENS, GREECE -- Today in Greece, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham officially transferred hand-held radiological detection equipment to Greek officials to support increased security for the upcoming Olympic Games. The event, held at the Ministry of Development in Athens, highlighted international cooperation to enhance nuclear security measures for the Olympics.

"The Department of Energy (DOE) is proud to cooperate with the Greek government and the International Atomic Energy Agency to improve security for the Olympic Games," Secretary Abraham said. "It is in our interest to protect the athletes and citizens who will attend this historic event."

In 2003, the Greek Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) invited the Department of Energy to participate in a nuclear security program to identify, prioritize and implement improved security measures in preparation for the Olympics and for the future. DOE support was requested because of its expertise in the area of physical protection of nuclear and other radioactive materials, the detection of illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material, and its capability to provide relevant equipment with short-lead time

The department's response has been multifold and in cooperation with the IAEA. DOE is providing radiation detection equipment to detect and deter the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radiological materials through ports or across international borders. The department is providing technical support to protect against the theft of radioactive materials located within Greece that could be used for terrorist purposes during the Olympic Games and is implementing security upgrades at the Demokritos research reactor. In addition, DOE is providing handheld radiation detection pagers that will be used throughout the Olympic venues.

This hand held equipment, which was officially handed over today, will be used by Greek first responders to enhance their preparedness and response in the event of a radiological incident. DOE will also provide training for the first responders.

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