Equipment, training will prevent smuggling of dangerous radioactive materials
CHISINAU, Moldova – Representatives from the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), the U.S. Embassy in Moldova, and the Moldovan government gathered April 6 to celebrate the installation of a radiation detection system at Chisinau International Airport. This partnership advances efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism.
The system of 18 radiation portal monitors and associated communications systems will enhance efforts to prevent smuggling of dangerous radioactive materials across international borders.
Since 2011, NNSA, Moldovan Customs, and Moldovan Border Police have jointly deployed radiation detection systems at 22 points of entry along Moldova’s borders and at its main international airport. NNSA has also provided seven mobile radiation detection systems.
“Working together with Moldovan authorities, we have successfully implemented a multilayered nuclear detection capability across the country,” said Dave Huizenga, NNSA’s acting deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation. “Now our partners can deter, detect and investigate the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials at all of Moldova’s major points-of-entry.”
NNSA has trained over 200 front-line officers to operate its detection equipment and respond to radiation alarms. In addition, NNSA has implemented a system that transmits data alerts from designated points of entry to the Moldovan Ministry of Finance’s national and regional headquarters, providing oversight of the system.
This multilayered nuclear detection architecture enables Moldova, a committed partner in a strategically important region, to participate effectively in the fight against nuclear smuggling.
Among the dignitaries who gathered at Chisinau International Airport to mark the progress were Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy Chisinau, Julie Stufft; Moldovan Customs Service General Director, Vitalie Vrabie; and the Head of Moldovan Border Police, Fredolin Lecari.
Through its Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence, NNSA provides partner countries with the tools and training necessary to counter nuclear smuggling. By installing radiation detection systems at high-priority locations around the world, and by building a community of states that have the capacity to deter, detect, and investigate smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials, NNSA is making an essential contribution to global nuclear security.
For a fact sheet on NNSA’s Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence Program, click here.
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. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce 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. Visit nnsa.energy.gov for more information.