WCO and US Department of Energy Customs Authority sign a grant agreement for the Radiological and Nuclear Detection Awareness Project

16 December 2022

On 7 December 2022, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the US Department of Energy (DoE) formally signed a grant agreement for the Radiological and Nuclear Detection Awareness Project (RANDA). In recognition of the signing Andrew Vogt, the Director of the Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence (NSDD), DoE stated that, “Customs are a crucial barrier in ensuring that nuclear and radiological material outside of regulatory control are detected and do not end up in the hands of criminals or terrorists”, before highlighting how much DoE are looking forward to working with WCO.  Whilst Stefan Kirsch, Deputy Director – Compliance & Facilitation, thanked the donor, Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NSDD), for their continuous support and stating, “with NSDD support the WCO is now able to support Members in the delivery of effective border screening to prevent the trafficking of materials  that could be used to manufacture an improvised radiological device.”

The new Project will add to the suite of assistance programmes provided to members by the WCO Security Programme. The Project focus is on supporting Customs administrations currently or planning to undertake radiation screening activities by providing awareness trainings in relation to the threats relating to the smuggling of radiological and nuclear material, the material concern and how they may be trafficked. The Project will deliver national as well as regional trainings and will work closely with stakeholders in US Department of Energy and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in delivering Project goals.

In the last twenty years many Customs administrations have included the screening for radiological and nuclear materials at import and export. The awareness training delivered through the training is designed to complement the equipment training provided to frontline Customs staff, by providing an overall context addressing the trafficking and illegal diversion of radiological and nuclear materials.  In addition training will be provided in relation to radiation safety and the transportation regimes for radioactive goods.

The WCO Security Programme currently has six Programme areas and one regionally focused Security project in West Africa. The Security Programme is focused on supporting member implement the security mandate of Customs, and the objectives of the Punta Cana Resolution. The Programme is part of the WCO’s Enforcement and Compliance Sub-Directorate which focuses on assisting WCO Members in implementing their Enforcement and Security mandates, through the provision of guidance and through training, awareness raising and capacity building activities.

The RANDA Project is to be launched in January 2023. For more information on the RANDA Project and the Security Programme, please contact WCOSecurityProgramme@wcoomd.org