On June 29, at the Office of the President of the Republic of Niger, Ambassador Eric P. Whitaker and Chief of Staff of the President Mr. Ibrahim Sani Abani, signed a Statement of Cooperation between the Nigerien High Authority for Atomic Energy (HANEA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence on the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material.
This is the first cooperative agreement signed by the Government of Niger with any country that addresses the prevention of illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive material. It allows for HANEA and the U.S. Department of Energy to begin technical collaboration on consultations, training, and equipment to enhance HANEA’s nuclear detection architecture to detect and interdict nuclear material and other radioactive material. HANEA is an independent Nigerien agency operating under the direction of the Office of the President of the Republic of Niger and is responsible for working with the National Defense Services (FDS) to prevent the illicit trafficking of radiological material.
Ambassador Whitaker said during the signing ceremony, “This agreement comes as the result of many months of coordination between the United Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and HANEA to find cooperative solutions to enhance Niger’s nuclear detection architecture to detect and interdict special nuclear material and other radioactive material which will give Niger the resources needed to protect their borders from the illicit trafficking of radioactive materials. We believe this agreement is only the beginning of our joint work in this field.”
The Republic of Niger and the United States of America are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, an international agency based in Vienna, Austria which seeks to advance cooperation in the nuclear field and seeks to promote the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technologies. The United States Department of Energy is a global leader in assisting developing nations with enhancing resources to prevent and deter illicit trafficking of radiological materials in order to reduce availability of radiological materials to criminal or terrorist organizations, and it assures the proper protection of national borders from the unlawful trade in dangerous nuclear or radiological materials.