Thursday, July 7, 2011

Radiation Scanning Gear Operating in Djibouti

Djibouti and the United States on Wednesday formally marked the deployment of equipment in the African state to scan shipping containers for smuggled nuclear and radiological material, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration announced (see GSN, Dec. 11, 2008).

The system entered use at the Port of Djibouti in March, and the nation's coast guard is handling any alert raised by the equipment.

"Our partnership at the Port of Djibouti underscores a continued, shared commitment to combating the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material,” NNSA Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington said in a statement. “With the commissioning of radiation detection equipment at this port, we have increased the level of nuclear security at one of the major shipping points in the Horn of Africa, bringing us one step closer to implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration in 2009 began efforts to install detection technology at the port, to educate local authorities in its use, and to inform port managers of the possible threats posed by nuclear and radiological substances.

The semiautonomous Energy Department agency has now deployed radiation detection technology at 36 "Megaports" across the globe. The effort is part of the U.S. Second Line of Defense program, which helps improve detection capabilities for nuclear and radiological materials at foreign seaports, airports and border checkpoints (U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration release, July 6).

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