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US Assists With Nuclear Scanner at Coastal Port

An overview of the USS Essex at the Gulf of Thailand near Cambodia's port town of Sihanoukville, 220 kilometers (137 miles) southwest of Phnom Penh, file photo.

The US National Nuclear Security Administration is helping Cambodia install a scanning system in the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk that will help prevent the smuggling of nuclear materials, officials said Monday.

Eight port and customs officials are currently being trained on the use of the scanner, which will examine all import and export goods passing through the Port of Sihanoukville, said Lu Kim Chhun, director-general of the port.

“With the specialized equipment provided by NNSA, Cambodia now has the capacity to scan 100 percent of all import and export containers passing through the port for the presence of potentially dangerous nuclear and other radioactive materials,” the US agency said in a statement.

The aim is to prevent nuclear or radioactive materials from “falling into the hands of terrorists,” the agency said.

Lu Kim Chhun said he was “certain” the new equipment and training would mean that goods passing to the US and Europe would be “safe from nuclear smuggling.”

The scanner and training come ahead of joint training exercises between Australian, Cambodian and US troops aimed at improved crisis response and stronger regional security partnerships, according to a statement Monday from the US Embassy.