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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism
such efforts by the United States and other governments are not adequate given the severity of the problem.
Against this background, in FY 2003 the U.S. Congress explicitly authorized the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop cooperative programs in Russia and other regions of the world to “protect, control, and account for radiological dispersal device materials.” Information on the budgetary support for this initiative is set forth in Appendix E. The transition from a tightly guarded and difficult-to-access Soviet nuclear complex to a Russian nuclear complex operating in a more open society has severely stressed security efforts to control fissile and radioactive material. In recent years, numerous reports of radioactive material of Russian origin falling into the hands of unauthorized individuals, which are noted in this report, have raised international concern. Therefore, DOE has begun collaborative efforts with Russian organizations to upgrade the protection of radioactive material of concern and, specifically, of inadequately protected ionizing radiation sources (IRSs). IRSs are generally considered the most likely source of radioactive material that could be dispersed when dirty bombs are detonated.
In 2003, DOE commissioned the study that led to this report. The report addresses nuclear security issues in Russia where large quantities of radioactive material are located. The importance of helping to upgrade the security of IRSs in Russia was the primary theme during the negotiation of the contract between DOE and the National Research Council (NRC) that provided the basis for this report. The statement of task that was included in the contract, however, was somewhat broader in scope. At the time, both DOE and the NRC considered that a wide-ranging assessment of the radiological threat would be helpful in putting into context the issues associated with protecting IRSs in Russia. Appendix A contains the original statement of task for this report.
As the study evolved, DOE’s concern about the security of IRSs in Russia intensified. Therefore, the committee responsible for this report, with the concurrence of DOE and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which served as the contract manager, decided to concentrate its efforts on the radiological terrorism threat posed by inadequately protected IRSs in Russia and on feasible approaches to upgrading the security of IRSs in Russia. The new statement of task is as follows:
An ad hoc committee will be established by the National Academies to develop recommendations for priorities for U.S.-Russian cooperation to be considered by the Department of Energy (DOE) as it develops its program for countering the threats of radiological terrorism. The committee will consider threats posed by radiological dispersion devices (RDDs) which consist of radioactive material embedded with conven-