At the Department of Energy, one of our key responsibilities is to protect the American people from nuclear dangers. President Hu’s visit marked the latest milestone in our common effort to prevent nuclear terrorism and enhance nuclear security around the world.
During his news conference with President Hu, President Obama announced the signing of an historic agreement to establish a Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security to help support the global effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world. Signed by Secretary Chu and Chairman Chen Qiufa of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), the agreement paves the way for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Defense to work with our partners in China to develop a center that will provide a central site for training in all aspects of nuclear security. It also builds on a commitment President Hu made during last April’s Nuclear Security Summit to consider building the Center.
The Center of Excellence will be tangible demonstration of our shared commitment reduce nuclear dangers. It will serve as a forum for exchanging technical information, sharing best practices, developing training courses, and promoting technical collaborations that will enhance nuclear security in China and throughout Asia. It will also help meet the training needs for China’s expanding nuclear sector to ensure that the growth of civil nuclear power proceeds responsibly. And, perhaps more importantly, it will serve as a vehicle for promoting nuclear security best practices throughout the region.
In addition the Center of Excellence, the Department of Energy also announced the completion of a second nuclear security agreement during President Hu’s visit. As part of our shared commitment to preventing nuclear smuggling, Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman and Vice Minister Sun Yibiao of the General Administration of China Customs signed a memorandum of understanding that paves the way for the establishment of a radiation detection training center in Qinhuangdao, China. NNSA’s Second Line of Defense program will provide radiation detection equipment and support the development of training materials for use at the Qinhuangdao Training Center. The radiation detection training facility at the Qinhuangdao Training Center will be the first of its kind in the region.
Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman and Vice Minister Sun Yibiao of the General Administration of China Customs to counter nuclear smuggling.
Taken together, these two agreements highlight the steps our two nations are taking to prevent terrorists and proliferators from getting their hands on dangerous nuclear materials. In doing so, we are honoring President Obama’s commitment to lead a global effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years, and working to protect our citizens.
Damien LaVera is the Director of Public Affairs for the National Nuclear Security Administration.