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14/01/2005 | Abraham says Megaports coverage to extend to 20 foreign ports

Martin Edwin Andersen

Says expansion of the nuclear detection initiative needs to happen "sooner rather than later"

Megaports, the U.S.-led initiative designed to detect clandestine nuclear materials moving through foreign ports, should include 20 of the world's busiest ports, outgoing Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said Thursday.

 

And progress in incorporating those ports in the program to halt the smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive materials is something that needs to happen "sooner rather than later," Abraham added.

To date, the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration has concluded agreements with six countries, the most recent one with the Commonwealth of the Bahamas that was announced Jan. 11.

The other countries include the Netherlands, Greece, Sri Lanka, Belguim and Spain. As a matter of policy, the department does not disclose which ports in those countries have been selected for the detection regime.

"Terrorists have not just struck Washington, New York, Moscow and Beslan (Russia)," Abraham said in prepared remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "The challenge of confronting terrorism falls to every nation ... A global threat demands global participation."

Abraham said that Megaports was a "good example" of international cooperation in strengthening efforts to detect nuclear and other hazardous cargos that might be smuggled through seaports.

"With our scientific and technological preeminence, the United States is well positioned to enhance the capabilities of our international partners to detect, deter, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials," Abraham said."The equipment, training, and technical support we provide other nations will allow them to screen container cargo as it moves through their ports.

"This will help screen not just cargo destined for the U.S., but cargo moving throughout the international maritime trading system," Abraham added.

The current number of Megaports agreements are "helpful, but ... not sufficient," Abraham said.

The safety and security of the free world demands that every major port around the globe be engaged in radiation detection," he said. "There are more than 20 of these worldwide that should be covered, a process that needs to happen sooner rather than later."

Martin Edwin Andersen can be reached via Mick_Andersen@portsecuritynews.com

Copyright © 2005 Port Security News

Port Security News is a trademark of USCongress.org.

Port Security News (Estados Unidos)

 


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