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The United States and the Republic of Cameroon signed an agreement to prevent Nuclear Smuggling under the Megaports Initiative

Yaounde, November 4, 2010

On November 4, 2010 the Cameroonian Minister of External Relations, H.E. Mr. Henri Eyebe Ayissi, and the United States Ambassador to Cameroon, H.E. Mr. Robert P. Jackson, signed at the Ministry of External Relations a cooperative agreement on the efforts of the two countries to combat illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive materials.

Initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the agreement is part of the ongoing collaboration between the U.S. and Cameroonian Governments on maritime security and is focused on the deterrence, detection and interdiction of illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials.  In addition, it paves the way for NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) program to work with the Cameroonian Ministry of Transport and other agencies in the country to install radiation detection equipment and a communications system at the Port of Douala.  This is the first agreement NNSA has signed with a nation in Central or West Africa.

To accomplish these goals, the U.S. Department of Energy will provide tools, training and technical support to the Government of Cameroon, including radiation detection equipment.  Cameroonian authorities will soon have the capability to scan containerized cargo for nuclear and other radioactive materials.  This screening will have no or minimal impact on normal port operations and ideally will enhance the reputation of the Port of Douala as a safe and secure port.

In addition to the purchase and installation of radiation detection equipment, NNSA will make provisions for a maintenance contract.  The U.S.-sponsored training will focus on enabling the Cameroonian Government to build an indigenous training program and to maintain and sustain the infrastructure provided under the Megaports Initiative over the long-term.

Cameroon’s participation in this initiative will also provide trade benefits to the country.  Under U.S. law, by 2012 all U.S.-bound containers must be scanned for radiation prior to their acceptance at U.S. ports.  Participation in Megaports will help Cameroon meet this legislative requirement by the 2012 deadline and will improve the reputation, efficiency, and security of the Port of Douala.

For more information, please contact the United States Embassy in Yaounde, Press section Tel 22 20 15 00, ext 4162 or 4273.