NNSA and PNRI commission secure radiological transport vehicles

The National Nuclear Security Administration and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute announced on Tuesday the commissioning of two secure radiological transportation vehicles meant to securely transport radiological material in the Philippines.

The commissioning of the vehicles is part of a broader cooperative effort to help fight nuclear and radiological terrorism in the Philippines and throughout the world. The vehicles are standard cargo vehicles that are customized with extra security features designed in coordination with PNRI.

"Working with our partners in the Philippines and around the world to eliminate, remove and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials is critical to our shared efforts to prevent nuclear and radiological terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons," Anne Harrington, NNSA's deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation, said. "By better securing materials during transportation and preventing terrorists from acquiring dangerous nuclear and radiological material, we are working to implement President Obama's unprecedented nuclear security agenda while promoting peace and security around the world."

The vehicles were commissioned during a ceremony on Tuesday in Manila, Philippines. Alumanda Dela Rosa, the director of PRNI, said the deployment of the new vehicles represented continued cooperation between the Philippines and the U.S. to prevent radiological and nuclear terrorism.

"The Philippines is firmly committed to advance the shared global goal of securing nuclear and other radioactive materials that are used for peaceful purposes and preventing the illicit trafficking of such materials," Dela Rosa. "In this regard, the Philippines values the opportunities to partner with like-minded states and international organizations. Through such partnerships, we are overcoming the challenges of the availability of scientific expertise and resources needed to put in place effective and appropriate national systems for nuclear security, safeguards and safety."

The NNSA previously cooperated with the Philippines to upgrade the security at 15 research and medical buildings maintaining radiological sources and to convert a research reactor at PNRI from highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium.

"Joint efforts like this allow our countries to combine resources and expand our progress toward strengthening radiological security and countering the threat of radiological terrorism," Harrington said.

The NNSA, a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy, works to protect and reduce vulnerable radiological and nuclear material at civilian sites worldwide.