Radiation Detection System launched at Bucharest International Airport. 60 RPM’s provided by the U.S. around Romania

The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest and the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs celebrated on Wednesday, July 22, the commencement of operations of the radiation detection system located at Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport.

Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the United States of America Duane Butcher, Romanian Vice Prime Minister for national security, Minister of Internal Affairs Gabriel Oprea, and other senior officials led a joint ceremony at Bucharest International Airport. This occasion reflects the strong commitment of Romania’s government to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking of special nuclear and other radioactive materials through its border control points, reads a press release of the US Embassy in Bucharest.

On September 25, 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform signed an agreement to cooperate in preventing illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive material in Romania. DOE’s Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Detterence (NSDD) has worked together with the Romanian Border Police (RBP) to deploy radiation detection systems at the Port of Constanta, the RBP training center in Iasi, and key border crossings. Cooperation also includes joint training, practical exercises, and sustainability. Since 2009, the detection systems have scanned in Romania over ten million vehicles, pedestrians, and shipping containers. NSDD has also deployed six mobile radiation detection systems in vans since 2009, and is working with Romania to equip additional sites with fixed equipment.

This program in Romania falls under the agreement between the U.S. and Romanian governments to cooperate in the area of counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the promotion of defense and military relations of March 30, 1998, as amended.

Butcher: United States greatly values having Romania as one of our closest allies

“It is a great pleasure to be here today, among so many old friends and colleagues, representing once again for short time the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Government in Romania and to see that in my short absence the Strategic Partnership between our two nations has continued to grow,” said Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the United States of America, Duane Butcher, while pointing out that U.S. greatly values having Romania as one of its closest allies because of its leadership and strength on a whole of global issues.

“Today’s events are an outstanding example, the proliferation and illegal trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials remains a big concern and a top foreign policy priority for the United States (…) The proliferation and illegal trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials is a threat to the security of all of us. As part of our strategy, we provide our allies with modern detection equipment and training to enhance their capabilities to deter, detect, and interdict the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials. Since 2008, the U.S. Government has invested over 20 million dollars in equipment and training for Romania. Our primary investment has been providing radiation portal monitors or RPM’s. Some are fixed, like the ones we are dedicating today. Others are mobile detection systems, like the vans the Border Police use where needed, or handheld, like those deployed at numerous border crossing sites, big and small, around the country. As of today there are 60 RPM’s around Romania, provided by the U.S,” the American envoy also showed.

Duane Butcher unveiled that his country intends to continue this cooperation into the future, namely USA will provide RPMs at key locations on the borders with Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria in 2016 and Romania will also receive additional mobile detection systems.

“It is important to remember that providing the equipment for these sites is just one important piece of the puzzle. As important as the equipment is, and the reason why this is a partnership and not only a donation, is ensuring the training to use the equipment and necessary means to keep it running effectively. We are assisting in these efforts, but it is the Romanian government that must ensure these vital aspects of the program in order for it to ultimately be successful. A measure of the success of this partnership is that these systems have scanned an estimated 10 million vehicles, pedestrians, and cargo containers in Romania since 2009.

I’m extremely proud of the work that we have done in this area. It is another arrow in the quiver of the U.S.-Romanian Strategic Partnership, making both states safer and more secure and bringing us closer together, as allies,” U.S. Chargé d’Affaires ad interim concluded.

bordersBucharestBulgariacharge d'affaires ad interimduane butchergabriel opreaHenri Coandainternational airportministry of internal affairsMoldovaradiation detection systemradiation portal monitorsRPMU.S. Embassyukraine
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