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China opens radiation detection center and customs training academy


U.S. and Chinese officials officially opened on Sept. 27 a new radiation detection center in the port of Qinhuangdao on China’s northwestern coast.

The facility, said the U.S. nuclear security agency which helped construct it, will provide training for China’s customs officers in detecting smuggled radioactive materials.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) held a ceremony in late September to mark the successful completion of the Qinhuangdao Radiation Detection Training Center (RDTC) and the commencement of the center’s first class for China customs officers. The opening of the RDTC is part of the longstanding cooperation between NNSA and the General Administration of Customs, China (GACC) in their joint efforts to counter nuclear terrorism, said the agency.

Under a 2011 NNSA Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program agreement between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), NNSA has been working with the GACC and the Qinhuangdao Customs Training School to install radiation detection equipment and develop a specialized curriculum. The training will promote and enhance the skills and knowledge base of customs officers charged with detecting and interdicting illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials at key points of entry, said NNSA. The first class at the RDTC will be comprised of over 25 officers representing nine major Chinese seaports, it said.

“This is a significant achievement in the fight against nuclear terrorism and for President Obama’s nuclear security agenda,” said NNSA principal deputy administrator Neile Miller, who attended the commencement ceremonies.

With the completion of the RDTC and its associated curriculum, NNSA said the People’s Republic of China now has a dedicated training facility that will enhance its capabilities to deliver high-quality, specialized training. The training will assist GACC’s officers as they work to detect and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials along the PRC’s land borders and seaports.

The work at the RDTC, said NNSA, builds off of an earlier SLD-GACC joint effort to install a radiation detection system at the Port of Yangshan. That work was completed in December 2011, it said. On the sidelines of the Sept. 2012 ceremony, Marty Schoenbauer, director of the Department of Energy’s Beijing office, also signed a Joint Transition Plan defining a collaborative approach to transitioning long-term responsibility for the repair, maintenance and sustainment of the radiation detection system at the Port of Yangshan from SLD to GACC.


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