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The United States government plans to equip the Port of Cebu in southern Philippines with radiation-detection equipment by 2013.

US Department of Energy (DOE) representative Kimberly Prono announced the plan after radiation-detection systems were inaugurated last week at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) operated by International Container Terminal Services, Inc and the South Harbor operated by Asian Terminals, Inc.

Another system may be installed at MICT’s Berth 6 by the first quarter of 2012, Prono said.

The facilities are part of the US DOE’s Megaports Initiative to help deter, detect and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials that might pass through international gateways such as seaports.

The US government has contributed about $26 million for setting up the facility in the Philippines. Megaports equipment have been installed in 38 major seaports worldwide so far.

“Our cooperation with our Philippine partners underscores our shared commitment to increase security for cargo shipments and prevent illegal trafficking of nuclear materials,” said US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas, Jr at the commissioning rites.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Philippines to enhance global peace and security as we work to implement the nuclear security agenda outlined by President Obama and our international partners.”

About 30% of traffic at the South Harbor and MICT are US-bound and the installation of the radiation portal is expected to facilitate movement of such cargo.

In 2005, the US DOE signed a memorandum of intent with the Philippine Department of Science and Technology to implement the Megaports Initiative in the country.

The Initiative is part of the US DOE’s second line of defense, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports, and seaports to install radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment. The program also provides training to host government officials.

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