U.S. and Latvia Commission Radiation Detection Equipment

NNSA News:

Freeport of Riga in Latvia. Courtesy photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the State Border Guard of Latvia (SBG) Friday announced the commissioning of specialized radiation detection equipment at the Freeport of Riga, in an effort to prevent the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials.

Under a 2007 agreement between the U.S. and Latvia, NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program has been working with SBG on projects at seven sites and a training center in Latvia. The most recent installation represents a significant milestone in the U.S. and Latvia’s shared effort to combat nuclear terrorism.

“We appreciate Latvia’s commitment to advancing our shared effort to prevent dangerous nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “By preventing the smuggling of nuclear materials across international borders, we are working together to implement President Obama’s nuclear security agenda while promoting peace and security around the world. We look forward to our continued work with our Latvian partners to make the world a safer place.‪‪”

Radiation detection systems detect and deter illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials across international borders, forming an integral component of border control and the international nonproliferation regime.

The radiation detection systems installed at the Freeport of Riga and across Latvia will improve global security by enhancing Latvia’s ability to detect, deter, and interdict nuclear smuggling.‪

NNSA’s SLD program works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports and seaports to install specialized radiation detection equipment, mobile radiation detection equipment, and associated communications equipment.

Through its SLD program, NNSA also provides training to host government law enforcement officers and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials.

The Freeport of Riga is a significant part of global and regional cargo supply chains and passenger traffic network in the Baltic Sea region. Courtesy photo

Fact Sheet

NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program
Feb 1, 2011

In April 2009, President Obama outlined an ambitious agenda to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years, calling the danger of a terrorist acquiring nuclear weapons “the most immediate and extreme threat to global security,” and that to counter this threat the country must “build on our efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade.”

The President’s FY 2012 budget request provides the resources required to implement that agenda. It requests $2.5 billion in FY 2012 and $14.2 billion over the next five years to reduce the global nuclear threat by detecting, securing, safeguarding, disposing and controlling nuclear and radiological material, as well as promoting the responsible application of nuclear technology and science.

NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) program in the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, which works around the world 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. The goal is to reduce the probability of these materials being fashioned into a weapon of mass destruction or a radiological dispersal device (“dirty bomb”) to be used against the United States or its key allies and international partners.

Under the SLD program, NNSA works collaboratively with foreign partners to equip border crossings, airports and seaports with radiation detection equipment and associated communication equipment. The SLD program provides training in the use of the systems for appropriate law enforcement officials and initial system sustainability support as the host government assumes operational responsibility for the equipment.

Three programs fall under SLD: the Core Program, the Megaports Initiative, and the SLD Sustainability Program. The Core Program installs radiation detection equipment at borders, airports, and strategic ports in Russia, other former Soviet Union states, Eastern Europe and other key countries. The Megaports Initiative provides radiation detection equipment to key international seaports to scan cargo containers for nuclear and other radioactive materials regardless of the container destination and with minimal impact to port operations. Under the Sustainability Program, NNSA works with foreign partners to help prepare them to assume long-term responsibility for effective operation, maintenance, and repair of the detection systems provided.

SLD Core Program

Goal: Equip approximately 650 sites in approximately 30 countries with detection equipment by 2018.

  • Established an agreement with Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS) to equip all of Russia’s border crossings (approximately 370 sites) with radiation detection equipment by the end of 2011. Cost for this effort will be split between NNSA and the FCS. 240 sites in Russia have been equipped by the SLD program to date, in some cases with partial funding provided by FCS. The FCS and SLD are also jointly funding networking of all sites in one of seven Customs Directorates to local, regional and central oversight and response bodies.
  • Initiated the installation and/or sustainment of radiation detection systems and associated training in Ukraine, Slovakia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Greece, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Estonia, Mongolia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, Israel, Romania, and at the Vienna International Center (in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency). A total of 125 sites outside of Russia have received radiation detection systems to date.
  • In Georgia,networked all border crossings equipped with radiation portal monitors to a response center in Tbilisi.
  • Pursuing agreements to implement the SLD Core Program in other high priority countries.
  • Working with foreign law enforcement entities to deploy mobile (e.g., van-mounted or man-portable) radiation detection systems to enhance their efforts to detect, deter, and interdict between official borders and at points internal to the country. To date, 15 mobile detection units have been provided to six countries.

Megaports Initiative

Goal: Equip more than 100 seaports with radiation detection equipment, scanning approximately 50% of global shipping traffic by 2018.

  • Cooperating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in implementation of the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) at two international ports. This effort provides host nations and CBP with the capability to scan U.S.-bound cargo at international ports with an integrated system, comprised of both radiation detection and non-intrusive imaging equipment.
  • Completed installations at 34 ports in various locations to date in: Bahamas, Belgium, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Greece, Honduras, Israel, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Oman (SFI Port), Pakistan (SFI Port), Panama, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
  • Implementation is underway at ports in the following locations: Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates (including Dubai) and Vietnam.
  • Pursuing agreements at additional ports worldwide.


Sustainability Program

  • Goal: To ensure the long-term operation of SLD systems by host country partners within 3-5 years for all Core and Megaports countries.
    Cooperating under existing SLD program agreements, the Sustainability Program is building host country partners’ indigenous capabilities to fully support SLD systems.
  • SLD systems are transitioned when an indigenous capability to support all functions of the SLD system is exhibited.
  • Sustainability Program presently supports approximately 400 SLD sites, which are in various stages of transition to full host country partner responsibility.
  • SLD utilizes a variety of tools to assist in the support of SLD systems, including local maintenance provider assistance, refresher training for operators and trainers, Help Desk reach back capability to resolve in-country issues, and assurance visits to evaluate system performance and provide feedback to the host country partners.

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