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U.S. and Bahamian Governments to Cooperate on Detecting Illicit Shipments of Nuclear Material

January 11, 2005 - 9:46am


Bahamas to Become First Caribbean Country to Use Detection Equipment

NASSAU, BAHAMAS -- In an effort to work together in the war on terrorism, the United States and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas recently signed an agreement to install special equipment at one of the Bahamas’ busiest seaports to detect hidden shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced today. The Bahamas will be the first country  in the Caribbean to deploy this type of detection system.

"Helping better protect the world’s maritime shipping network from nuclear smuggling is an important objective we are working to achieve," Secretary Abraham said. “Cooperating with the Bahamian government will enable our countries to further international nonproliferation efforts and better protect the citizens of the Bahamas, the United States and other countries against nuclear terrorism.”

Robert M. Witajewski, chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, signed the cooperative agreement on behalf of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) with Ruth Millar, the financial secretary of the Ministry of Finance of the government of the Bahamas. 

This agreement is part of the Energy Department’s NNSA Megaports Initiative, a program that supports the Bush Administration goal to detect, deter, and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials. NNSA works with foreign partners to equip seaports with radiation detection equipment and to provide training to appropriate law enforcement officials. This is the sixth cooperative agreement and joins efforts currently underway in  the Netherlands, Greece, Sri Lanka, Belgium and Spain.

The specialized radiation detection technology deployed under this program is based on technologies originally developed by NNSA laboratories as part of overall U.S. government efforts to guard against proliferation of weapons materials. 

“Successful detection of radioactive materials as they cross a country’s borders is fundamental in stopping a nuclear or dirty bomb attack,” Secretary Abraham said.

Media contacts:
Jeanne Lopatto, 202/586-4940 (DOE)
Bryan Wilkes, 202/586-7371 (NNSA)