US-ArmeniaNuclearYEREVAN — On January 18, US Ambassador John A. Heffern joined officials from the Armenian Ministry of Energy and National Security Service to open the Armenian Nuclear Forensics Laboratory at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP). The U.S. Department of State’s Preventing Nuclear Smuggling Program (PNSP) partnered with the ANPP to establish a Laboratory for Technical and Forensic Analysis of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials as part of a joint effort to strengthen Armenian capabilities to respond to the transnational threat of nuclear smuggling.
The laboratory will allow Armenia to collect nuclear and radiologically contaminated evidence at crime scenes and perform technical analysis necessary to support the prosecution of smugglers. New opportunities will arise for Armenia to cooperate with governments investigating illicit uses of nuclear material. Additionally, the facility will advance aspects of the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit work plan discussed at the 2012 summit in the Republic of Korea.
Possible nuclear smuggling through Armenian territory has for years been a source of U.S. concerns that apparently stem, in large measure, from the country’s proximity to Iran. The U.S. government has supplied Armenian border guard and customs services with U.S.-made radio-communication systems, border sensors, metal detectors, cargo truck scales, and X-ray devices over the past decade.
PNSP is a U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism (ISN/WMDT) program. PNSP is working globally to counter nuclear smuggling. Improving nuclear forensics best practices and cooperation enables countries to counter nuclear smuggling by furthering their ability to determine material origin and prosecuting smugglers.

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