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Argentina-United States Megaports Agreement to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, and Argentina's Foreign Minister Jorge Enrique Taiana, left, shake hands after signing a ports security agreement during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Tuesday, April 13, 2010. U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu stands at right. (Photo AP)

Washington DC.- The  Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana and the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today signed an agreement to begin a cooperative effort to detect, deter, and interdict illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu was in attendance. The agreement came on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, in Washington, D.C.

In a press conference after signing the agreement Minister Taiana said the following: ”  it’s really a good moment to be here at that summit and have the opportunity to sign this cooperation agreement. We were working on that for a while. But now, it’s now and time arrive and it’s, I think, like a way to show a practical outcome of this summit. This is a very practical cooperation agreement. We were to receive equipment and will be operated by our Argentines there and to avoid the possibility of illegal traffic of nuclear materials and radioactive materials.  I think that it is also good recognition of the level of some of our ports, particularly Port of Buenos Aires, Dock Sud, and Campana, that are the two ports that are contemplated in this agreement. And it’s not only a way to fight illegal nuclear trafficking, but also it’s a way to improve our trade and the dynamism and work of our ports.”

On U.S. behalf, Secretary Clinton expressed that “the agreement we signed today builds on this progress as we work toward our goal of equipping 100 key ports with radiation, detection equipment, and providing port personnel with training and technical support. It also builds on our cooperation with Argentina on nuclear nonproliferation and counterterrorism. Argentina is on the forefront of the fight for nuclear security. And with this signing, it will make yet another contribution to our common efforts to enhance the safety of our peoples and indeed of all people. It is a symbol not only of our shared commitment to the issue of nuclear security, but also of our strong bilateral partnership.”

The agreement paves the way for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to work with Argentine Customs to install radiation detection equipment and associated infrastructure at the Port of Buenos Aires. 

The Megaports Agreement solidifies the United States’ and Argentina’s joint commitment to the safety and security of our nations. As part of NNSA’s Second Line of Defense Program’s Megaports Initiative, this agreement will help NNSA meet its goal of equipping 100 ports with radiation detection equipment.

The Megaports Initiative provides radiation detection equipment, training, and technical support to key international seaports to scan cargo containers for nuclear and other radioactive materials. The installation of radiation detection systems in Argentina represents a significant step forward for the Megaports Initiative, which is now operational at 30 ports around the world. Work is underway at additional ports in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.