Russia to install radiation detectors at all border crossings

Published 5 June 2007

U.S. to help Russia install radiation detection systems in all of Russia’s official international border crossings, including airports, seaports, railways, and land crossings

Are you in the nuclear radiation detection business? Here is a business opportuinty for you: In an important agreement signed between the United States and Russia, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS) will pay for and install sensitive radiation detection equipment in all of Russia’s official international border crossings, including airports, seaports, railways, and land crossings. The project will be completed in four years and it aims to help the Russian authorities prevent nuclear smuggling in or out of the country.

As our counterproliferation and anti-terrorism partnership with Russia grows stronger, the security provided for through this agreement will not only make Russia safer, but it will also increase the security of the United States and our allies in the region,” said NNSA’s acting administrator Bill Ostendorff.

The agreement calls for the United States and Russia to share the security costs, with each providing approximately half of the funding, and all of the crossings will be secured by 2011 — six years ahead of schedule. The agreement also covers the long-term sustainability of the installations, ensuring that Russia will maintain and repair the equipment into the future. From 2009 to 2013, NNSA will hand over to Russia the maintenance and repair of the NNSA provided equipment.

NNSA is working with its Russian counterpart to secure some 350 border crossings in Russia by installing fixed radiation portal monitors that can detect smuggled nuclear and radiological material. NNSA also provide hand-held detection instruments and help train Russian customs officials.

In 2006 there were 50,000 responses to alarms in Russia from fixed portal monitors and hand-held equipment. Of these alarms, nearly 500 cases of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive material, including goods with unacceptable levels of ionizing radiation, were identified.

NNSA was created in 2000 and is a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. It is responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.