During the sessions of the working panels and then following the workshop, the Russian visitors met a number of additional U.S. specialists involved in the topics that were discussed. Also they visited relevant facilities and met with first responders in Washington, D.C.; Hanover, Maryland; and New York City.
Returning to the second workshop, held in 2003, the joint committees established five standing working groups to assist the committees in addressing a broad range of issues. The status of these working groups is summarized below.
At each of the three workshops, presentations highlighted the dangers associated with radiological terrorism. They described a variety of attack scenarios and emphasized that the psychological impact of the dispersion of radioactivity might far exceed the physical harm from radiation exposure. As a result of the discussions at the workshops, the U.S. National Academies, with the assistance of the Russian Academy of Sciences and in consultation with many Russian specialists, is undertaking a study of the current cooperative program between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Energy (Rosatom). The Institute of Nuclear Safety of the Russian Academy of Sciences is playing a particularly active role in this effort.
The emphasis of the intergovernmental cooperative program has been on reducing the possibility that ionizing radiation sources in Russia could fall into the hands of terrorists. A special workshop was held in Moscow in March 2005 to consider the current status of security over ionizing radiation sources, and the Russian Institute for Nuclear Safety prepared an overview of the current approach to improving security in Russia. The final report for this activity will be published by the National Academies Press.
The National Academies have had a long-standing program, carried out in its initial phase with the assistance of the Russian Academy of Sciences, for promoting the redirection to civilian tasks of Russian scientists who previously carried out research in support of the Soviet defense complex. Initially the program was considered a nonproliferation activity to prevent unreliable states from gaining access to information about biological weapons. However, as international terrorists increase their technical capabilities, the relevance of the program to the terrorism interests of the joint committees is clear.
Related to this activity has been a study by the National Academies that considers the future of biosciences and biotechnology in Russia. It emphasized the importance of public health concerns, focusing on disease surveillance, biological research, the evolution of the biotechnology industry, zoonotic diseases, and the strengthening of the science and technology workforce, with opportuni-