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Nuclear Security

Nuclear Security

Immediate and Extreme Threat

The President of the United States has described nuclear terrorism as the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. A radiological or nuclear attack on U.S. soil would result in dire and profound consequences for the country.

Securing the Nation Against Nuclear Terrorism

DHS’ nuclear detection and forensics missions are key elements of the U.S. government’s wide-ranging approach to preventing attacks by terrorists and potential state sponsors.

DHS also coordinates the U.S. government’s interagency efforts to develop the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture (GNDA), a layered defense against nuclear and radiological terrorism. The layers of the GNDA consist of detection methods at U.S. and foreign borders, and within the United States and other countries.

Improving Detection and Strengthening Partnerships

DHS has made important strides in improving detection technologies, strengthening international partnerships, and increasing the number of law enforcement personnel trained in detection-related equipment. DHS also continues to build upon its substantial expertise in nuclear forensics, the ability to trace nuclear materials and weapons to their source.

  • Radiation Portal Monitors: DNDO has worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deploy Radiation Portal Monitors and other radiation detection technologies to seaports, land border ports, and mail facilities around the world.  Today, these systems scan 100 percent of all containerized cargo and personal vehicles arriving in the U.S. through land ports of entry, as well as over 99 percent of arriving sea containers. 
  • Securing the Cities: DHS plans to expand the Securing the Cities (STC) initiative, designed to enhance the nation’s ability to detect and prevent a radiological or nuclear attack in the highest risk cities, to include additional urban areas while continuing to support efforts in New York.  For example, through STC, nearly 16,000 personnel in the New York City region have been trained in preventive radiological and nuclear detection operations and nearly 8,500 pieces of radiological detection equipment have been funded. The program expanded to the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas in 2012.
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