Termez—Today U.S. Ambassador Rosenblum and Uzbekistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ismatulla Irgashev, participated in an equipment handover ceremony at the “Friendship Bridge” connecting Afghanistan to Uzbekistan. The radiation detection equipment, provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), will help Uzbekistan combat the smuggling of radioactive material at an important international border crossing point.
“I am pleased to announce a new milestone in cooperation between our two nations in the area of international nuclear security. Today we are showcasing the first phase of radiation detection equipment donations by the U.S. Department of Energy to the State Customs Committee of Uzbekistan. This is an important step in advancing U.S.-Uzbek cooperation in border security,” said Ambassador Rosenblum.
In 1998, DOE/NNSA established a program to strengthen international capability to interdict the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials. Because traditional security tools such as x-ray scanners and metal detectors cannot detect radiation, special radiation detection equipment is a necessary and effective tool to prevent smuggling across borders. The newly installed equipment at the Friendship Bridge includes radiation portal monitors to scan vehicle and pedestrian traffic, mobile detection systems, and handheld/portable detectors.
The equipment at the Friendship Bridge is the first phase of a multi-year, multi-million dollar project in which DOE/NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence (NSDD) will equip other strategic border crossings with radiation portal monitors. NSDD will also work with other agencies in the Government of Uzbekistan to build capacity to sustain the new equipment and promote further cooperation in other areas of nuclear security.
“The United States and Uzbekistan already cooperate closely to secure the border with Afghanistan and interdict the illicit movement of narcotics, while facilitating the legitimate flow of people and goods. With this important new capability, we will expand our collaboration to combat smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive materials,” Ambassador Rosenblum said.