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Problems of Preventing Acts of Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Vladimir M. Kutsenko * Department of Protection of Information, Nuclear Materials, and Facilities Ministry of Atomic Energy A.P. Morozov Interagency Group on Combating Nuclear Terrorism and the Illegal Trade in Nuclear Materials and Radioactive Substances The concept of the national security of the Russian Federation includes the possibility that a threat such as terrorism may occur in practically any sphere of activity in the country. The threat of nuclear or radiological terrorism is therefore viewed as part of the overall problem of ensuring national security. The Federal Anti-terrorism Commission has been established under the fed- eral law on combating terrorism. As part of this commission and under the aus- pices of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom), a working group has been created to address issues of countering nuclear terrorism and the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances. In conjunction with the State Commission on Nuclear Weapons at the federal and regional levels, this commission coordinates the activities of executive branch agencies of the federal government and of Russian Federation subjects involved in preventing and sup- pressing nuclear terrorism and eliminating (localizing) its effects. A federal sys- tem for reacting to terrorist incidents has also been instituted. Minatom has itself carried out significant work aimed at preventing nuclear and radiological terrorism at industrial facilities. Such efforts include the following: . Step-by-step upgrades to bring the system for physical protection of fa- cilities up to the necessary standard; . Improvement of the state system of control and accountability for nuclear and radioactive materials; and · Coordination of the efforts of federal executive branch agencies aimed at preventing and suppressing possible acts of nuclear terrorism. * Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins. 160
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NUCLEAR TERRORISM 161 These efforts and other measures are essential, but the current world situation shows that they may not be sufficient. The potential for the occurrence of nuclear and radiological terrorism, one of the most dangerous varieties of high-tech terror- ism, is ever intensifying, taking on an international, global character. Current re- views, publications, and expert assessments indicate that the problem of nuclear and radiological terrorism could become a reality at any moment. Understanding this threat and its consequences with a sufficient sense of responsibility requires that all possible aspects of this phenomenon be considered in detail. Of the greatest concern is the possibility of terrorism involving nuclear weap- ons, which could take on an international character. Such terrorism could in- volve illegally obtained nuclear weapons or nuclear materials used in making such weapons. Terrorists might also use "dirty methods," that is, highly radioac- tive materials detonated using ordinary explosive substances. Problems connect- ed with fighting this sort of terrorism must be resolved by maximally coordinat- ed efforts aimed at creating an appropriate system of measures in Russia, the United States, and other states possessing nuclear technologies. It should also be noted that this type of terrorism as a phenomenon of modern life appeared rela- tively recently and is a rather broad, complex, and multifaceted concept. The reliable physical protection of nuclear materials undoubtedly plays an exceptionally important role in the interests of preventing and suppressing possi- ble acts of nuclear and radiological terrorism. In this connection, full support should be given to the efforts of the Office of Physical Protection and Materials Security of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Department of Safe- guards to strengthen the regime for physical protection of nuclear materials worldwide. However, it is obvious that the problem of combating instances of nuclear and radiological terrorism cannot be resolved solely with measures of physical protection. The current situation creates a need for developing bilateral and mul- tilateral international relations to coordinate measures for preventing and sup- pressing cases of nuclear and radiological terrorism. These recommendations represent a systematic synthesis of the results of research on the problem carried out by scientists from the Federal Nuclear Cen- ters (the All-Russia Research Institute of Experimental Physics and the Institute of Technical Physics) and the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering. They are aimed at developing a program for creating an international system to counter and react to cases of nuclear and radiological terrorism. In this regard, the main difficulty in resolving the problem lies in the creation of national systems. Given all that has been stated above, we believe that it is essential to submit for discussion by this esteemed gathering a number of recommendations and sug- gestions aimed at the coordination of efforts to resolve this multifaceted problem. 1. The joint development of a dictionary of terminology on nuclear and radiological terrorism. This particularly concerns the conceptual definitions of
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162 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM nuclear and radiological terrorism. In the end, a clear conceptual characterization of this type of terrorism as a sociolegal phenomenon must serve as the basis for the definition of the issues as well as the legal, organizational, and resource- related aspects of the fight against terrorism. 2. The joint development of a list of threats and a basic model of the terror- ist in the interests of forming a conceptual framework for the organization of countermeasures. It is proposed that the threats must include a list of goals and motives of cases of terrorism, while the model of a terrorist would include a list of features that would allow him to be classified as nuclear or radiological in orientation. 3. The creation by common efforts of a modelfor national systems for coun- tering nuclear and radiological terrorism. Its open component would undoubt- edly involve interaction and coordination of efforts. National systems for reacting to threats of terrorism should be created as a unified informational and logical whole along with the system for combating the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances. The concept of the national system for combating nuclear and radiological terrorism should include coordinated actions by federal executive branch agencies with functional respon- sibilities involving the prevention of acts of nuclear terrorism and the detection of and reaction to the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substanc- es. The system should have a central competent organ to make decisions on assessing the level of the possible threat and to take preventive measures. This will facilitate further coordination of the work of these systems at the interna- tional level. At the first stage, this task is particularly urgent for states possessing nuclear weapons technologies. 4. Coordination of efforts by the international community. The international community must coordinate its activities in the fight against the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances, since this trade carries with it the danger of nuclear or radiological terrorism. This task is very complex. In the matter of preventing nuclear smuggling, the current actions of the Office of Physical Protection and Materials Security of the IAEA Department of Safeguards headed by Mrs. A. Nilsson are absolutely insufficient, as are the actions being taken by the international technical working group (ITWG) established at the initiative of the United States and the countries of the European Community. Furthermore, Mrs. Nilsson has frequently men- tioned the need for closer coordination of this work. In particular, Mrs. Nilsson has noted that expanded cooperation between the IAEA and the ITWG has been proposed. Such cooperation could include the establishment of an IAEA database on the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances, an analysis of unknown materials that might be produced both in IAEA labs and in the labs of ITWG member states, assistance in identify- ing nuclear materials and radioactive substances, coordination of efforts to sup- press the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances, and broad
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NUCLEAR TERRORISM 163 efforts to inform IAEA member states about the results of ITWG activities. IAEA also counts on making use of the services of experts participating in the ITWG. In the opinion of IAEA, cooperation in these areas could be particularly important and worthy of support. When the need for more coordinated interactions on these issues by national intelligence services and customs agencies is added to the above, it appears that overall coordination of these efforts can hardly be accomplished by IAEA staff alone. Minatom is working to develop the conceptual model and the basic systems technology foundations for improving the State System for Preventing and Sup- pressing Illegal Trade in Nuclear Materials and Radioactive Substances. Work is under way to ensure the informational and logical unity of the data structures compiled and used in addressing matters of physical protection, accountability, and control of nuclear materials and in countering nuclear terrorism. In the course of these efforts, basic areas of activity and issues of cooperation among federal executive branch agencies are being defined. The main goal of improving the State System lies in ensuring comprehen- sive control over the movement of nuclear materials and radioactive substances, the transport of spent nuclear materials and radioactive substances to temporary storage facilities, and the provision of temporary storage pending decisions on permanent disposition or recycling. To address this need, a unified information center that will be part of the State System is being created under the auspices of Minatom. Existing technologies and communications will be used to the maxi- mum extent for cooperation with federal executive organs. It should be noted that the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances represents a serious threat to the international community. It must be combated jointly, using all cost-effective methods and means. 5. The formation of an international database on the given problem (un- questionably, on a voluntary basis). The international exchange of information among the appropriate national agencies regarding questions of the nonprolifera- tion of nuclear weapons and the countering of the illegal trade in nuclear materi- als and radioactive substances can be conducted on the basis of bilateral and multilateral agreements. In the early stages, it would seem useful to establish cooperation among states possessing nuclear weapons. It is important to determine the scope of this database, which presupposes the integration of existing information systems of national law enforcement agen- cies, competent agencies in the area of atomic energy utilization, and power agencies that collect information regarding the struggle against nuclear terrorism and the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances. This inte- gration should be defined along the following lines: · Modernization of the database on the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances according to an agreed-upon scale of gradations of such cases;
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164 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM · Creation of a database on international criminal organizations oriented toward nuclear and radiological terrorism; · Creation of a warning system regarding preparations for or attempts to carry out acts of nuclear terrorism; and · Establishment of communications networks including the appropriate contact persons. 6. National legislation in the area of preventing and suppressing acts of nuclear terrorism. Such needs to be developed and improved. At the first stage, it would seem useful to develop international legal norms in this area. Voluntary agreement of states to include these norms in the appropriate legislation would facilitate the gradual formation of a legal basis for the international community in the fight against this threat. 7. Providing law enforcement agencies with the necessary technology. It is important to add impetus to efforts to resolve the problem of providing law enforcement agencies (customs, border guards, internal affairs agencies, et cet- era) with the technology they need to detect nuclear materials and radioactive substances. This is an important problem to resolve mainly in the states possess- ing nuclear technologies. Minatom is prepared to supply mass-produced instru- ments and radiation control systems. 8. Ensuring information security. This problem cannot be ignored. Specifi- cally, publications on technologies for manufacturing explosive-action nuclear devices and information on locations where weapons and nuclear materials are stored can serve as a stimulus for the threat of nuclear terrorism. A reduction of the threat of terrorism and the illegal trade in nuclear materi- als and radioactive substances can be achieved only as a result of a comprehen- sive set of political, organizational, and technical measures. At the first stage, these measures would include the following: · Preparatory work aimed at completing the Convention on the Suppres- sion of Nuclear Terrorism (a draft has been submitted to the United Nations by the Russian Federation); and · Improvement of coordinating measures under UN auspices to combat the illegal trade in nuclear materials and radioactive substances.
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