Bulgaria’s Deputy Interior Minister Philip Gounev and US ambassador Eric Rubin have celebrated the implementation of a so-called nuclear detection architecture in Bulgaria. The system detects dangerous nuclear material in its area of operation. It is designed to make sure nobody can smuggle radioactive material across borders undetected.
Representatives of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) were in Sofia as well, and took part in the celebration event. The NNSA is part of the US Department of Energy.
Anne Harrington, the organization’s deputy administrator, said in Sofia: “With this architecture, MOI/CDBP can deter, detect, and investigate the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials at all of Bulgaria’s major points-of-entry (POE). This represents a significant step in our governments’ joint efforts to keep dangerous materials out of the hands of smugglers and terrorists.” Harrington was quoted as saying by several US media and the US embassy in Sofia.
The NNSA is cooperating with the Bulgarian Border Police, which was struck by yet another scandal on Monday, when more corrupt border guards were arrested in an operation which slowed down the traffic flow at Bulgaria’s southern border. The radiation detection systems were installed jointly and are now present at official and unofficial border crossings, as well as airports. Thousands of officers were trained to operate the systems.
Those installations in Bulgaria also include an information system, which is supposed to sound alarms in regional headquarters, when any radioactivity is being detected.
The NNSA installs these radioactivity detection systems at “high-priority locations” around the world. Bulgaria’s southern border is definitely one of those, since it is the outer border of the European Union and the entry point to Europe from the Middle East.
Making sure that radioactive material does not fall into the hands of terrorists and other criminals is something the United States have been working on, even before September 11th, 2001. The threat of so-called “dirty bombs”, which can spread radioactivity across entire regions and countries, is considered to be real. Documents found at AlQaida locations, as well as in the hands of terrorists belonging to other groups, have proven there were attempts to obtain weapons of this kind. The new detection system makes Bulgaria and all of Europe safer.
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