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NNSA and Cambodia sign nuclear emergency management agreement and begin training

Phnom Penh

The government of Cambodia and the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration agreed to cooperate in managing nuclear emergencies, as nuclear detection training got underway in the southeast Asian nation’s capital.

NNSA announced on Feb. 21 that it formally signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) for Emergency Management Cooperation with Cambodia.

At the same time, the agency said its Office of Emergency Operations is also conducting an International Radiological Assistance Program Training for Emergency Response (I-RAPTER) training in Phnom Penh with a host of the country’s government agencies, including its anti-terror, customs and defense forces.

The beginning of the I-RAPTER training, said NNSA, was begun with a Feb 18 ceremony attended by U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia William Todd, Cambodia Senior Minister Om Yentieng and NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. Thirty-two representatives from the National Counter Terrorism Committee, Ministry of National Defense, Customs Department, Port Authority and Ministry of Industry, Mining and Energy attended the training, according to NNSA.

“NNSA looks forward to a long and prosperous cooperation with Cambodia in nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response,” said Krol. “This agreement demonstrates our commitment to assist Cambodia with training, information and data exchange, drills and exercises, and some detection equipment as the initial step in our cooperation.”

Todd cited the U.S.’s continuing commitment to Cambodia and the importance of U.S.-Cambodian cooperation to prevent nuclear material from entering Cambodia. Om Yentieng, said NNSA, affirmed Cambodia’s commitment to countering nuclear and radiological terrorism and expressed appreciation for U.S. assistance in developing his country’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities.

After the opening, NNSA said Om Yentieng and Krol signed the SOI, witnessed by Todd, highlighting the positive cooperation between their respective governments.

NNSA and NSTec personnel from Joint Base Andrews and Sandia National Laboratories are conducting the I-RAPTER training, said NNSA. The training uses radiation detection equipment to find hidden radioactive sources during a practical exercise. At the conclusion of the course, international first responders should be able to appropriately respond to incidents involving radioactive material, it said.

NNSA said it currently collaborates with more than 80 foreign governments and 10 international organizations on projects ranging from providing assistance in improving emergency preparedness and response programs to joint collaborative activities to improve emergency management infrastructure worldwide.

 

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