December 7, 2011 / 7:56 AM / 7 years ago

U.S., China move to stop smuggling of nuclear materials

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The United States and China launched a radiation detection system at a Shanghai port on Wednesday, part of a global effort to halt smuggling of nuclear materials that can be used in bombs.

The equipment, installed in Yangshan, will be able to detect nuclear and other radioactive materials in cargo containers, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said in a statement.

“This port demonstrates in a real, significant, symbolic way as well, the commitment of the Chinese government to detecting nuclear material and combating nuclear terrorism,” Thomas D’Agostino, administrator of NNSA said in a speech in Shanghai.

The device is part of the NNSA’s Megaports Initiative, the goal of which is to equip more than 100 seaports with radiation detection equipment to scan about 50 percent of global shipping traffic by 2018.

So far, 34 ports have been installed with the equipment.

The United States and China have a complicated relationship when it comes to nuclear arms proliferation.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran in the belief that its nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran insists the program is for peaceful nuclear energy purposes.

China’s Foreign Ministry said last month it opposed unilateral sanctions against Iran after the United States, Britain and Canada said they would impose a new round of sanctions to halt its nuclear program.

Shanghai’s main port became the world’s busiest container port last year, handling more than 29 million twenty-foot equivalent units in 2010.

Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Nick Macfie

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