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The Global Context for Preventing Radiological Terrorism

Packaging a conventional explosive with radioactive material and detonating the device to kill and terrorize people—the “dirty bomb” scenario—is, unfortunately, readily within the means of some terrorist groups.1 As pointed out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Box 1-1, the necessary radioactive material is readily available internationally and in many cases is poorly secured.

The IAEA report underscores the importance of governments actively “managing” the entire life cycles of many classes of radioactive material contained in ionizing radiation sources (IRSs). IRSs contain radioactive materials that are the most likely ingredients for dirty bombs, technically known as radiological dispersion devices (RDDs). Because IRSs have beneficial uses inextricably integrated into medicinal, agricultural, industrial, and research activities, and because their use will increase as the world becomes more industrialized, they cannot simply be locked up or eliminated. The challenge for governments is to expand their efforts to keep IRSs out of the hands of terrorists through life-cycle management while at the same time preparing to manage the consequences if dirty bomb events occur.

As underscored by the IAEA, the threat of detonation of a dirty bomb is global because the necessary radioactive material and conventional explosives can be found in many countries. This chapter provides a brief

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Cameron, G. 1999. Nuclear Terrorism: A Threat Assessment for the Twenty-First Century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.



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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism 1 The Global Context for Preventing Radiological Terrorism Packaging a conventional explosive with radioactive material and detonating the device to kill and terrorize people—the “dirty bomb” scenario—is, unfortunately, readily within the means of some terrorist groups.1 As pointed out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Box 1-1, the necessary radioactive material is readily available internationally and in many cases is poorly secured. The IAEA report underscores the importance of governments actively “managing” the entire life cycles of many classes of radioactive material contained in ionizing radiation sources (IRSs). IRSs contain radioactive materials that are the most likely ingredients for dirty bombs, technically known as radiological dispersion devices (RDDs). Because IRSs have beneficial uses inextricably integrated into medicinal, agricultural, industrial, and research activities, and because their use will increase as the world becomes more industrialized, they cannot simply be locked up or eliminated. The challenge for governments is to expand their efforts to keep IRSs out of the hands of terrorists through life-cycle management while at the same time preparing to manage the consequences if dirty bomb events occur. As underscored by the IAEA, the threat of detonation of a dirty bomb is global because the necessary radioactive material and conventional explosives can be found in many countries. This chapter provides a brief 1 Cameron, G. 1999. Nuclear Terrorism: A Threat Assessment for the Twenty-First Century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism BOX 1-1 “The radioactive materials needed to build a ‘dirty bomb’ can be found in almost any country in the world, and more than 100 countries may have inadequate control and monitoring programs necessary to prevent or even detect the theft of these materials…. ‘What is needed is cradle-to-grave control of powerful radioactive sources to protect them against … theft’.” SOURCE: IAEA. 2002. P. 1 in Inadequate Control of the World’s Radioactive Sources. IAEA Press Release, September. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Features/RadSources/rads_factsheet.pdf. Accessed November 27, 2006. overview of the risks posed by RDDs and discusses global approaches to deal with those risks. The focus is on inadequately secured IRSs that could provide radioactive material. The discussion provides a context for subsequent consideration of developments in Russia and of U.S.-Russian cooperative programs to reduce the threat of radiological terrorism with roots in Russia. Also, other publications that address important global issues in greater detail are identified. THE RADIOLOGICAL RISK The committee concurs with the conclusions of the report Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism, published in 2002 by the National Research Council (NRC), that detonation of an RDD would most likely result in only a few deaths but could have the potential for causing substantial economic damage and/or social disruption.2 Of course RDDs cannot trigger a nuclear explosion with its familiar mushroom cloud. Unlike nuclear weapons, they cannot kill tens to hundreds of thousands of people and obliterate a city instantly. Thus, the concept of radiological terrorism is quite different from the possible use of nuclear weapons, and linking the two threats can hinder efforts to properly define the risks and prevent such events. 2 NRC Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism. 2002. P. 49 in Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism In principle, it is necessary for first responders to be prepared to deal effectively with each type of event. However, because first responders must be prepared to address so many types of events, it is likely that the procedures for responding to both RDD attacks and detonation of nuclear devices will be bundled within single guidelines. Should an event involving fissile or radioactive material occur, appropriately trained specialists that understand in detail the differences between nuclear and radiation attacks should promptly become involved in response and consequence management activities. Radioactive material dispersed by an RDD may cause serious radiation health effects for a limited number of exposed people and, indeed, may result in some deaths. However, the gravest consequences of detonation of an RDD are more likely to be the spread of contamination requiring evacuation of large numbers of inhabitants of the affected area; short and long-term economic disruption that could extend well beyond the contaminated area by impacts on transportation, financial, and other sprawling infrastructure systems; incitement of psychological trauma among individuals and groups that are exposed to radiation or believe they have been exposed; and attendant social or political instability. Quite appropriately, RDDs have been called “weapons of mass disruption.”3 Thus, an RDD may have considerable value as a terrorist weapon. The mere fact of an explosion being characterized as “nuclear” would almost certainly ensure that it had an impact on the public’s apprehensions. Returning to health risks, the radioactive material contained in various types and configurations of IRSs can pose very different risks, depending on the type of radiation emitted and how effectively the material can be dispersed. Radionuclides such as cobalt-60, cesium-137, and iridium-192 used in many types of industrial irradiators and medical devices can result in acute health effects from penetrating radiation, including death when there are significant levels of exposure. At the other extreme, the amount of americium-241 used in domestic smoke detectors is benign. All of these radionuclides are used in commercial IRSs. 3 Henry C. Kelly, president of the Federation of American Scientists, and Steven Koonin, a physics professor and former provost of the California Institute of Technology, were among the first analysts after September 11, 2001, to draw attention to the massively disruptive effects of RDDs. See: Kelly, H. C. 2002. Testimony before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 6, 2002, available at http://www.fas.org/ssp/docs/kelly_testimony_030602.pdf. Accessed on April 23, 2004. Koonin, S. E. 2002. Radiological Terrorism. Physics and Society 31(2):12-13. Available online at http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/2002/april/toc.cfm. Accessed on November 8, 2006. Levi, M. A., and H. C. Kelly. 2002. Weapons of Mass Disruption. Scientific American (November):76-81.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism In addition to half-life (i.e., the time for one-half of the isotope to decay into its products), other characteristics of IRSs determine their relative security risk—namely the total amount of radioactivity, the portability of the IRS, and the chemical form that affects the ease of dispersibility. For example, Cs-137 in large IRSs is often in the form of powdered cesium chloride, which could easily be dispersed. In contrast, many IRSs contain Ir-192 or Co-60 in the form of solid metal pellets, which do not disperse easily. From a technical standpoint, the aerosolization potential depends on the material properties and the device geometry. In short, when properly packaged, adequately shielded, and appropriately handled for their intended use, IRSs are safe, even when they contain the most lethal radionculides. However, if the shielding is removed and the containers are breached either intentionally or unintentionally, the radioactive material in many IRSs can injure or perhaps even kill exposed persons and could seriously contaminate large areas. Such incidents have occurred as a result of accidents or theft. “[E]ven without malevolent intent, the loss of control of radioactive sources has resulted in death or serious injury. The well known incident in Goiânia, Brazil, in 1987, is frequently cited as an example—a case in which the inadvertent dismantling of a radiotherapy source, and the dispersal of Cesium-137, resulted in a number of fatalities and significant social and economic disruption.”4 In this case, scavengers of scrap metal sold remnants of the source assembly to a junkyard owner who distributed material that glowed blue in the dark to relatives and friends. Soon, 20 persons were hospitalized and 4 of them died. A total of 112,000 people were monitored for radiation, and 249 had been contaminated either internally or externally. Approximately six months were required to clean up an area of about 1 square kilometer. As to the psychological impact, the IAEA reported as follows: The accident in Goiânia had a great psychological impact on the Brazilian population owing to its association with the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the USSR in 1986. Many people feared contamination, irradiation, and damage to health; worse still, they feared incurable and fatal diseases.5 The wider the dispersion of radioactive material by explosive devices or by other means such as injection of material into ventilation systems 4 ElBaradei, M. 2003. Statement to the International Conference on Security of Radioactive Sources. March 11. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Statements/2003/ebsp2003n007.shtml. Accessed on November 9, 2006. 5 IAEA. 1988. P. 115 in The Radiological Accident in Goiânia. Vienna: IAEA. See http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub815_web.pdf. Accessed on November 9, 2006.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism or waterways, the larger the footprint of the contaminated area. Yet at the same time, spreading the material can result in dilution that lowers the immediate health risk. In the case of broad dispersion, the near-term deaths resulting from an RDD attack might be limited largely to the effects of the chemical explosion, not of radiation. However, there may also be long-term health effects due to increased risk of cancer among the population exposed to significant amounts of radiation. At the same time, estimates of long-term health effects due to exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation are difficult to make even if the radiation exposure is reasonably well known.6 One analysis of some of the important dimensions of environmental releases of radiation is as follows: It is clear that even the major catastrophe of Chernobyl had a minor impact on the health of the average inhabitant of the northern hemisphere. But on the psychological and political level, it had an extraordinary effect, whose consequences on the economy, and even on public health, can be considerable. The problem is serious when people find themselves in a highly contaminated region where there is a severe short-term risk to their health or to their lives. It means little to them to know that epidemiologists consider that if the radioactivity with which they are afflicted were uniformly distributed, at very low dose, over the entire population of the globe, there would be the same number of victims in total, but the effect would be imperceptible because of other cancers, much more numerous.7 There are no publicly reported cases of RDDs being used or even fully constructed as terrorist weapons. Examples of intentional misuse of IRSs are noted later in this report. Thus, the possible consequences of an RDD incident can be predicted only from analysis of the impacts of major radiation accidents and other types of relevant events and from hypothetical scenarios. The Nuclear Safety Institute (IBRAE) report noted in the Introduction can be helpful in this regard. It postulates several scenarios and discusses possible health, economic, and disruption effects. Of particular concern are cleanup problems associated with different radionuclides. 6 See, for example: NRC Committee to Assess Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation. 2006. Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation. BEIR VII Phase 2. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Available online at http://newton.nap.edu/catalog/11340.html. Accessed November 9, 2006. Garwin, R. L., and G. Charpak. 2001. Megawatts and Megatons: A Turning Point in the Nuclear Age? New York: Alfred A. Knopf. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP). 2001. Pp. 27-53 in Management of Terrorist Events Involving Radioactive Material. NCRP Report No. 138. Bethesda, Md.: NCRP. 7 Garwin, R. L., and G. Charpak, op. cit., p. 192.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism Nevertheless, as already emphasized, it seems clear that the shock of the conventional explosive used in an RDD will most likely be the primary cause of any immediate deaths or serious injuries. While there is the potential for long-term radiation health effects, the most significant effect of radiation releases on individuals is likely to be the psychological impact on exposed populations. Of course the consequences of denial of access to important facilities and the need to relocate people due to contamination that could take weeks or months to clean up might be very great indeed. In addition, persons not in the impacted area may believe that they might have been exposed to radiation or that they will be exposed in the future from such incidents. Many people recoil with great anxiety at the thought of encountering any level of nuclear radiation or any level of a toxic material that is invisible and cannot be felt. Even after reassurances from government authorities or well-informed specialists that the risk to human health from radiation exposure is minimal, some residents in or near the path of radiation will surely seek to escape as quickly as possible from any level of exposure. Effective risk communication among government officials, recognized experts in radiation medicine, and the general public—while not always successful in quelling anxieties—is nevertheless a key element in reducing the likelihood of harmful psychological responses to an incident.8 In addition, even a reasonably minor RDD attack could serve as an effective multiplier to a conventional terrorist attack, such as a subway bombing, in the same geographical area. Access by first responders to contaminated areas might be denied by police, or contaminated emergency response centers might be closed during the crucial period of initial response. Finally, with regard to developing methodologies for estimating the harm from dirty bombs, the Goiânia incident has been used as the basis for estimates that some types of radiological attacks could kill tens or hundreds of people and sicken hundreds to thousands and the economic 8 For a discussion of the psychological impacts of a dirty bomb explosion and of risk communication, see: National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, op. cit., pp. 54-73. Fischhoff, B. 2006. Pp. 463-492 in The McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook, D. G. Kamien, ed. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. In particular, Fischhoff uses examples of actual events to demonstrate that people react without panic in some cases of severe emergencies. Also see Bennett, B., M. Repacholi, and Z. Carr, eds. 2006. Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident and Special Care Programmes. Geneva: World Health Organization. Available online at http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/chernobyl/. Accessed November 9, 2006.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism impact could be great.9 Expanded interdisciplinary research would help provide a framework for extrapolating accident data to theoretical RDD events. COPING WITH MILLIONS OF SOURCES The committee is unaware of any authoritative estimates of the total number of IRSs that are in use or storage throughout the world. Worldwide inventories of up to 10 million have been reported. The committee believes that the number is in the millions but cannot be more precise using available data.10 Concerns over terrorism focus primarily on IRSs of sufficient activity, either individually or when bundled, to create an RDD with considerable radioactive potential. When considering radioactivity levels, half-life, portability, and dispersibility potential of IRSs known to be in use or in storage, only a small fraction of the millions of existing IRSs pose a high radiation risk. Still, there are estimates that tens of thousands of high-risk IRSs exist throughout the world, and as previously noted, even low-risk IRSs have the potential to frighten populations.11 A number of countries including the United States are beginning to develop comprehensive national IRS inventories. In Argentina, for example, maintaining a complete inventory has been a part of the established regulatory process, but this has been rare. Unfortunately, detailed inventories of existing IRSs are very difficult to compile in many countries because the licensing processes do not require complete reporting. Countries that have produced and distributed IRSs should attempt to calculate the quantity of radionuclides produced and distributed to date to help establish an upper bound on an overall estimate of inventories. This information would assist in determining the level of resources that should be devoted by governments to combating radiological terrorism. Such work is currently being sponsored in the United States by the Department of Energy (DOE).12 As indicated in Box 1-2, the IAEA has developed the accepted international standard for categorizing IRSs with respect to the safety aspects of each type. 9 Zimmerman, P. D., and C. Loeb. 2004. Dirty bombs: The threat revisited. Defense Horizons 38(January):1-10. 10 See, for example, U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). 2003. P. 7 in Nuclear Nonproliferation: U.S. and International Assistance Efforts to Control Sealed Radioactive Sources Need Strengthening. GAO-03-638. Washington, D.C.: GAO. 11 Ibid. 12 Communication with DOE National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Global Threat Reduction’s U.S. Radiological Threat Reduction Program, October 2005.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism BOX 1-2 Categorization of Radioactive Sources Category1 sources, “if not safely managed or securely protected, would be likely to cause permanent injury to a person who handled [them], or were otherwise in contact with [them], for more than a few minutes. It would probably be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded material for a period of a few minutes to an hour.” These sources are typically used in practices such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators, irradiators, and radiation teletherapy. Category 2 sources, “if not safely managed or securely protected, could cause permanent injury to a person who handled [them], or were otherwise in contact with [them], for a short time (minutes to hours). It could possibly be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of hours to days.” These sources are typically used in practices such as industrial gamma radiography, high-dose-rate brachytherapy, and medium-dose-rate brachytherapy. Category 3 sources, “if not safely managed or securely protected, could cause permanent injury to a person who handled [them], or were otherwise in contact with [them], for some hours. It could possibly—although it is unlikely—be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of days to weeks.” These sources are typically used in practices such as fixed industrial gauges involving high-activity sources (for example, level gauges, dredger gauges, conveyor gauges, and spinning pipe gauges) and well logging. Two additional categories, 4 and 5, are also described. These contain smaller quantities of radioactive material and are generally not considered dangerous in the context of an RDD. However, when large numbers of low-activity IRSs are aggregated together and produce a total activity similar to the higher categories, a danger can exist. SOURCE: IAEA. 2003. Pp. 27-29 in Categorization of Radioactive Sources. IAEA-TECDOC-1344. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/pdf/te_1344_web.pdf. Accessed November 9, 2006. Meanwhile, DOE has developed its own prioritization of radionuclides for IRSs based principally on their potential risk to life and the related health consequences. The approach gives particular attention to the following general provision in the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, which is discussed in later sections of this chapter. In addition to the IAEA categories, states should give appropriate attention to radioactive sources considered by them to have the potential to cause unacceptable consequences if employed for malicious purposes,

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism and to aggregations of lower activity sources … which require management under the principles of this Code.13 Table 1-1 identifies some of the most important applications of high-risk IRSs. Table 1-2 presents DOE’s listing of the most important sources that it uses to establish priorities for its international efforts to improve the security of IRSs. The committee considers DOE’s selection of radionuclides of particular concern to be a reasonable basis for evaluating the effectiveness of international cooperation. Originally these values differed slightly from IAEA values, but they have since been made consistent with the IAEA values when applied in DOE’s international programs to upgrade the security of IRSs. DOE’s guidelines also address many aspects of assessing the adequacy of security conditions at facilities where IRSs are located. The guidelines provide a good starting point for improving the protection of IRSs, but DOE should remain flexible in its approach as new information is developed. Other organizations, such as the DOE laboratories, have prepared lists with other radionuclides identified for priority as well as most of the DOE-identified radionuclides. While DOE should consider these alternative approaches, the committee did not consider them as leading to conclusions that are different from those presented in this report. Shortly after 9/11, DOE developed an approach to prioritize its efforts for improving security of IRSs worldwide by calculating relative risk based on combining (1) the probability that an undesired event will occur, by taking into account the threat and the vulnerability of the IRS of concern, and (2) the consequences if that event occurs. To this end, the threat is an estimate of the likelihood that a terrorist organization would target an IRS wherever it is located and attempt to acquire it illicitly. The vulnerability is an estimate of the likelihood that the IRS can be acquired illicitly by a terrorist organization directly or through middlemen without the knowledge of responsible authorities. The consequences are estimates of the impacts on U.S. interests arising from a successful attack by a terrorist group using an RDD. This is a very general approach that requires considerable sophistication in estimating the various components of the algorithm. Aggregating economic, social, and psychological factors, as well as health consequences, is obviously complicated. When the cleanup problems and mobility in the environment are considered, risk estimates become very uncertain. Also, it should be kept in mind that U.S. interests 13 IAEA. 2004. P. 15 in Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. Vienna: IAEA.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism TABLE 1-1 Applications of High-Risk Radioactive Sources Practice or Application Radionuclide Typical Activity (Ci) Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) Strontium-90 20,000 Plutonium-238 280 Sterilization and food irradiation Cobalt-60 Up to 4,000,000 Cesium-137 Up to 3,000,000 Self-contained and blood irradiators Cobalt-60 2,400-25,000 Cesium-137 7,000-15,000 Single-beam teletherapy Cobalt-60 4,000 Cesium-137 500 Multibeam teletherapy Cobalt-60 7,000 Industrial radiography Cobalt-60 60 Iridium-192 100 Calibration Cobalt-60 20 Cesium-137 60 Americium-241 10 High- and medium-dose-rate brachytherapy Cobalt-60 10 Cesium-137 3 Iridium-192 6 Well logging Cesium-137 2 Americium-241/Beryllium 20 Californium-252 0.03 Level and conveyor gauges Cobalt-60 5 Cesium-137 3-5 SOURCE: Copyright 2005 from The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism by C. D. Ferguson, W. C. Potter, A. Sands, L. S. Spector, and F. L. Wehling. Reproduced by permission of Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. P. 266. Another helpful source is IAEA. 2005. Categorization of Radioactive Sources. Safety Guide No. RS-G-1.9. IAEA Safety Standard Series. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1227_web.pdf. Accessed November 9, 2006. NOTE: The curie (Ci) was based originally on the measurement of the activity of 1 gram of radium as 3.70 × 1010 disintegrations per second, but since the half-life of radium has been reevaluated several times since then, the value of the curie has now been pegged at exactly 3.70 × 1010 disintegrations per second. This avoids changing the value to reflect new measurements or evaluations of the half-life of radium. The activity of a radioactive source can be expressed in terms of curies, which is a convenient unit, but the approved SI (Systeme International) unit for activity is the becquerel (Bq), defined as one disintegration per second. Thus, 1 curie = 3.7 × 1010 Bq. in protecting IRSs abroad are related but not identical to the interests of the countries in which they are located. Of course, any conceptual approach must be adjusted to accommodate practical considerations for specific countries. For example, important targets of opportunity for terrorists may not be in the highest-risk categories. Data on the location of IRSs, let alone their possible vulnerabilities,

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism TABLE 1-2 Radionuclides of Primary Concern to DOE Radionuclide Action Level (Ci)a Assessment Level (Ci)a Americium-241 10 1 Californium-252 10 1 Cesium-137 1,000 100 Cobalt-60 1,000 100 Curium-244 N/A N/A Iradium-192 1,000 100 Plutonium-238 10 1 Plutonium-239 N/A N/A Radium-226 100 10 Strontium-90 1,000 100 NOTE: While the values established in 2004 have since been modified, these adjustments do not affect the conclusions set forth in this report. aAssessment level means that a prompt evaluation of the security and safety aspects of a source with activity above the indicated level should be undertaken, and if deemed necessary, additional physical protection of the source should be provided. Action level means that an appropriate level of protection is essential. SOURCE: Sandia National Laboratories. 2004. A Basic Guide to RTR Radioactive Materials. SAND 2004-4155P. Revision 3:July 8. Albuquerque, N.M.: Sandia National Laboratories. may be inadequate to permit comparative risk analyses. Also, different local organizations that are responsible for the security of sources, and are potential partners for international efforts, may each have their own priorities that are not based on nationwide comparative risk assessments or indeed on comparative risk assessments among the IRSs under the purview of the individual organization. The consequences of an RDD attack that are described in IAEA and DOE guidance documents are measured in terms of radiation health effects, including death. The psychological effects and economic damage, which may be the most serious consequences of a radiological attack, do not emerge from their categorizations. These considerations are essential in a risk-based approach to assessing IRSs as potential components of RDDs. Specifically, certain types of low-activity IRSs present little if any direct health hazard, but they nevertheless could provoke psychological and social responses depending on the terrorism scenario. For example, plutonium-239, an alpha emitter that is dangerous only if inhaled or ingested, is usually not listed by the IAEA among the high-health-risk radionuclides. Yet plutonium dispersal will likely alarm the public because of its association with nuclear weapons. A research effort to determine the desirability and feasibility of expanding the current approaches of DOE and IAEA to more comprehensive risk models that would significantly

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism material licenses each year, and the Agreement States conduct about 8,000. These inspections cover areas such as training of personnel who use materials, radiation protections programs, radiation patient dose records, transportation, and security of radioactive materials. Due to the interim source database, since 2005, the USNRC has a good estimate of the total number of Category 1 and 2 sources in use, transport, and storage in the United States. A Storage Only License is provided for organizations that seek to dispose of unwanted IRSs, but do not have a disposal path and therefore are required to maintain their licenses.19 The details of these and related activities are available on the USNRC Web site (www.nrc.gov). IMPORT OR EXPORT OF SOURCES On July 1, 2005, the USNRC published new regulations that require specific licenses for the export or import of radioactive materials that could possibly be used in weapons, making the United States the first country to implement comprehensive export controls on these materials in compliance with the IAEA’s Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. The regulations went into effect on December 28, 2005. The rule’s list of nuclear materials and activity levels of concern is essentially identical to the list of the IAEA’s Category 1 and Category 2. Before approving an export license, the USNRC determines that the proposed export is not inimical to the defense and security of the United States. In making this determination, the USNRC considers whether the importing country has the technical and administrative capability and the resources and regulatory structure to manage the material in a safe and secure manner, and has authorized the recipient to receive and possess the material. Import licenses will be granted only after the USNRC determines the import would not be inimical to the defense and security of the United States or pose a threat to public health and safety. Importers must verify to the exporting country that they are authorized to receive the material, provide prior notification of shipments to the USNRC, and verify to the USNRC that each recipient is authorized to possess the material. The USNRC has the discretion to grant broad specific licenses covering multiple shipments over several years or to limit a license to a single ship- 19 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 2005. Information Digest. NUREG-1350, Volume 17. July 2005. Washington, D.C.: USNRC.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism ment.20 Again the reader is referred to the USNRC Web site for additional information. SECURING ORPHAN SOURCES IN THE UNITED STATES An important concern in the United States is the possible malevolent use of unaccounted-for IRSs, a problem that began to gain increased attention well before 9/11. As noted above, the United States has long had a relatively well-developed system of regulatory control involving the licensing, possession, and use of IRSs, compared to the systems in most countries. However, the lack of available disposal pathways for some IRSs leaves licensees limited viable options when IRSs are no longer needed. The regulatory framework is not well prepared to deal with this problem, and large numbers of excess and unwanted IRSs have accumulated in storage with no routes for permanent disposal. By 2000, both DOE and the USNRC had become well aware of this problem. DOE became actively engaged in a cooperative program with the USNRC and many regulators in Agreement States to aggressively recover and secure IRSs that had no disposal pathways. The recovery sites were at DOE installations where high security was ensured. By 9/11, this program was well under way with a solid infrastructure in place. It only needed increased scope. As its activities expanded, the program became an active force in the nation’s homeland security effort. Thus, the recovery effort was given a sharper national security focus. In the two years following 9/11, approximately 6,000 sources were recovered. The accomplishments as of the end of 2005 are summarized in Box 1-4. The 2006 target was to recover and secure an additional 2,000 sources. These efforts clearly lower the probability that radiological material will fall into the hands of terrorists within the United States, and this experience should be instructive in helping to address security weaknesses in Russia and other countries. ROLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY The IAEA has played an important role in setting standards and providing technical guidelines for protecting IRSs. Also, through its model project, the IAEA assists countries to strengthen their security systems. As previously noted, in 2003 the IAEA revised a Code of Conduct on the Safety 20 National Archives and Records Administration. 2005. Rules and Regulations. Federal Register 70(126):37985-37994. Available online at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/fr/2005/20050701.pdf. Accessed on November 14, 2006.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism BOX 1-4 Achievements within the United States of DOE’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and its predecessor programs since 1997 have included recovery of more than 12,000 high-risk radiological sources, including four large strontium-90 sources (four RTGs containing a total of about 60,000 curies) just prior to the Super Bowl in Houston in 2004, about 500 sources in a complex single operation, and a number of plutonium-239 and cesium-137 sources. SOURCE: DOE presentation at the first meeting of the NRC Committee on International Efforts to Counter Radiological Terrorism, Washington, D.C., January 4-5, 2006; DOE communication via e-mail, August 16, 2006. and Security of Radioactive Sources for protecting IRSs. The code is not a binding international agreement. However, by July 2006, 83 countries had formally committed to implementing the provisions of the code.21 The basic principle of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources is set forth in Box 1-5. The code addresses the significance and characteristics of national legislation and regulations, the importance and role of a regulatory body, and export and import obligations. Also, it presents an international standard for categorizing sources, import-export procedures, and national registries of sources. It provides no constraints on military-related activities, however. The IAEA also adopted two important technical documents in 2003: Categorization of Radioactive Sources22 and Security of Radioactive Sources.23 The first document considers the importance of categorizing of sources, the methodology underlying the categorization approach, and the categories that were developed. The second document addresses threat assessments, administrative and technical security measures, and temporary storage of IRSs. This document has been revised significantly and will be reissued in the Nuclear Security Series of the IAEA’s Office of Nuclear Security in late 2006. 21 IAEA. 2006. List of states that have made a political commitment with regard to the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and the Supplementary Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources. Informational list. Available online at www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Treaties/codeconduct_status.pdf. Accessed November14, 2006. 22 IAEA. 2003. Categorization of Radioactive Sources, IAEA-TECDOC-1344. Vienna: IAEA. 23 IAEA. 2003. Security of Radioactive Sources, IAEA-TECDOC-1355. Vienna: IAEA.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism BOX 1-5 “Every [s]tate should, in order to protect individuals, society, and the environment, take appropriate measures necessary to ensure: (a) that the radioactive sources within its territory, or under its jurisdiction or control, are safely managed and securely protected during their useful lives and at the end of their useful lives; and (b) the promotion of safety culture and of security culture with respect to radioactive sources.” SOURCE: IAEA. 2004. P. 5 in Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. Vienna: IAEA. Although there is no international binding agreement concerning imports or exports of IRSs, the IAEA has developed Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources,24 which addresses Category 1 and 2 IRSs. Guidance has not been prepared on other categories of IRSs. The Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources calls for an exporting state to satisfy itself insofar as practicable that the recipient is authorized by the importing state to receive and possess the IRS or IRSs in accordance with its laws and regulations. Also, the exporting state should satisfy itself to the extent practicable that the importing state has the appropriate technical and administrative capability, resources, and regulatory structure needed to manage the resources in a responsible manner. The Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources calls for importing states to consider the following factors with respect to imports: Whether the recipient has been engaged in clandestine or illegal procurement of sources, Whether an import or export authorization for sources has been denied to the recipient or importing state, or whether the recipient has diverted for purposes inconsistent with the IAEA code any import or export of sources that was previously authorized, and The risk of diversion or malicious acts involving sources. 24 IAEA. 2005. Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Imp-Exp_web.pdf. Accessed November 14, 2006.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism The Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources does not address two key issues, however. First, should an exporting state be prepared to accept returned sources after they have exceeded their lifetimes or are no longer wanted? Second, how should the reexport to a third party by the original recipient of the first export be controlled internationally? These seem to be important issues that should be addressed in the future by the IAEA. Intimately entwined in the export of IRSs are the activities of the producers and distributors of IRSs. During the Cold War era, the United States and Russia were the largest distributors of long-lived radionuclides. This historical perspective is important because many IRSs produced during that time are now excess, unwanted, and otherwise orphaned without a disposal path. Today, according to the IAEA, the largest producer of Cs-137 is the Mayak Production Association in Russia (hereinafter referred to as Mayak), as discussed in Chapter 2. In addition, five other countries have reactors operating at a level of 100 megawatts (MW) (t) or higher that produce radionuclides—namely, the United States, Canada, China, Belgium, and India.25 Canada and Argentina are currently major producers of Co-60.26 In addition, 35 other countries have smaller reactors capable of producing commercial radionuclides.27 The role of the IAEA will remain central to all aspects of the life cycle of IRSs, which includes containing the potential for radiological terrorism. The IAEA supports international efforts to use IRSs safely through the model project established in 1994. As of 2005, the IAEA reported the following accomplishments that reflect the assistance provided directly or through regional approaches to 80 states: About 77 percent of the participating countries had promulgated laws About 77 percent had established a regulatory authority More than 42 percent had adopted regulations About 80 percent had an inventory system in place and [operating] 25 See IAEA. 1999. Nuclear Research Reactors in the World. Available online at http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/rrdb/. Accessed November 29, 2006. 26 Canadian Nuclear Association. 2006. P. 3 in Nuclear Energy Technology in Canada: Nuclear at a Glance. Available online at http://www.cna.ca/english/Nuclear_Facts/Nuclear_Quickfacts_Jul-06_EN.pdf. Accessed November 29, 2006. See also, IAEA. No date. Argentina. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/cnpp2003/CNPP_Webpage/PDF/2001/Documents/Documents/Argentina%202001.pdf. Accessed November 29, 2006. 27 For a discussion of research reactors, see IAEA. 2004. New Life for Research Reactors? Bright Future but Far Fewer Projected. Staff Report. March 8. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Features/ResearchReactors/reactors20040308.html. Accessed November 14, 2006.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism About 50 percent had a system for the notification, authorization, and control of sources in place and [operating].28 An IAEA activity worth noting is the agency’s catalogue of sealed sources and containment devices, which was developed and patterned after the USNRC’s Sealed Source and Device registry. This catalogue contains nearly 5,000 models of sources and transport containers. It identifies more than 1,100 manufacturers and distributors of sources and containers. In 2005 this catalog was moved to the Internet to provide an online capability. The system continues to expand now with the assistance of DOE, which maintains a large database of sources and devices of U.S. manufacture. Thus, it provides a valuable resource for organizations involved in the control of IRSs, including regulators, Interpol, border agents, and those responsible for the identification and recovery of IRSs when found as orphans or abandoned. With transportation of radioactive material nationally and internationally reaching 10 million packages per year, the catalog may prove to be a very important tool in combating radiological terrorism.29 A final topic of great interest to the U.S. government is the gradual phasing-out internationally of IRSs containing highly potent radionuclides that can easily be dispersed into the environment. Cesium chloride is at the top of the list of concerns, but practical steps that would be internationally acceptable have yet to be developed.30 SUPPORT AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL FOR GREATER SECURITY The G-8 governments pledged their support to countering radiological terrorism at their Gleneagles, Scotland, meeting in 2005. They reported at that time that 70 countries had committed to implement the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, and they welcomed IAEA endorsement of an international import and export framework for IRSs. Finally, they vowed to strengthen their cooperation worldwide. This political commitment at the highest level of the leading industrial countries provides strong underpinnings for efforts of all countries, individually and collectively, to upgrade security systems. 28 IAEA. 2005. P. 4 in The Model Project. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at http://www-ns.iaea.org/projects/modelproject/. Accessed August 1, 2005. 29 IAEA. 2004. Information: International Catalogue of Sealed Radioactive Sources and Devices. Information from the Waste Technology Section, Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology, Department of Nuclear Energy. January. Vienna: IAEA. 30 U.S. Department of State. 2006. Presentation at the first meeting of the NRC Committee on International Efforts to Counter Radiological Terrorism, Washington, D.C., January 4-5.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism Also, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2005 and opened for signature in September 2005. Based on a proposal by Russia in 1998, the convention provides for a definition of nuclear terrorism and covers a broad range of possible terrorist targets, including nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors. The convention requires that any seized nuclear or radiological material be held in accordance with IAEA safeguards and handled as prescribed in the IAEA’s health, safety, and physical protection standards.31 In addition, during 2005 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1540, which criminalizes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and calls for states to enact and enforce strict export controls and to secure sensitive materials within their borders. Finally, in June 2002 the United States, Russia, and the IAEA signed a Tripartite Agreement at the ministerial level to cooperate in securing sources in the former Soviet Union beyond Russia. The responsibilities are as follows: Locate and identify high-risk sources (Russia and IAEA), Provide physical security for sources (U.S.), Provide radiation detection equipment (U.S.), Assist in developing the regulatory infrastructure (U.S. and IAEA), and Pursue source recovery (Russia and IAEA). As of August 2005, DOE had participated in installing security upgrades and new construction at more than 100 sites in the former Soviet Union. This activity included the construction of new, secure storage facilities for IRSs in Uzbekistan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia, with a facility under construction in Azerbaijan. Security upgrades have included hardened doors and windows, intrusion detection systems, and response force equipment. Additionally, the IAEA and the Russian firm Izotop have assisted several countries in dismantling irradiators that are no longer used and in transporting IRSs to secure storage.32 31 Atomic Archive. No date. International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005): Summary. Available online at http://www.atomic archive.com/Treaties/Treaty22.shtml. Accessed July 29, 2005. 32 Consultation with DOE, September 2005. For more information about the Tripartite Agreement, see U.S. General Accounting Office. 2003. Pp. 26-27 in Nuclear Nonproliferation: U.S. and International Assistance Efforts to Control Sealed Radioactive Sources Need Strengthening. GAO-03-638. Washington, D.C.: GAO. See also IAEA. No date. Global Threat Reduction Initiative Fact Sheet. Available online at http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Meetings/PDFplus/2004/cn139fact.pdf. Accessed November 4, 2006.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism PROGRAMS TO INTERCEPT ILLICIT SHIPMENTS OF NUCLEAR AND RADIOLOGICAL MATERIAL The U.S. government supports several international programs designed to intercept illicit shipments of nuclear and radiological materials, including IRSs, as follows: The Second Line of Defense program involves outfitting border crossing points that are within the territory of the former Soviet Union, and several other European and Mediterranean nations, with special detection equipment so that local customs officials can detect attempts to smuggle nuclear contraband across international borders. Most activities are carried out by DOE, although the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Department of State play important roles. In Russia, the program has installed equipment at 39 sites. According to DOE, Russian customs officials have reported that 200 attempts to smuggle materials were uncovered in 2004.33 The Megaports Initiative involves outfitting foreign seaports with detection equipment capable of identifying nuclear and radiological material in metal shipping containers in the absence of extensive shielding. Beginning with Rotterdam and Piraeus, about 15 ports are scheduled to receive equipment by 2010. Reports are not available as to early results of this initiative in terms of detection of unauthorized shipments of nuclear or radiological material. The U.S. Department of State and DOE work together on this program. In related efforts, the U.S. government has been installing X-ray scanners at U.S. seaports and border crossings. This program has been under way for a number of years. In April 2005, Oakland became the first U.S. port to have all shipping containers pass through such devices. DOE, DHS, and the USNRC work together with local authorities on this program. Also, the United States proposed the Proliferation Security Initiative, which has been accepted as a nonbinding agreement among several dozen countries to increase efforts to interdict weapons of mass destruction, their components, and their delivery systems in transit, particularly on the high seas. The principal emphasis has been on nuclear weapons and fissile materials, although material for radiological, biological, and chemical weapons is also a concern. Key provisions call for participating countries to take aggressive action in boarding and inspecting ships 33 Office of the Second Line of Defense. 2006. SLD Implementation Strategy, Revision B. April. Available online at http://www.doeal.gov/dicce/RRSLDImplementation.aspx. Accessed November 20, 2006.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism BOX 1-6 There is one report of 145 incidents of illegitimate transnational movement of radiological material at a single crossing point on the border of Russia and Ukraine during a period of six and one-half months in 2004. SOURCE: Correspondence with Argonne National Laboratory, July 20, 2005. flying their flags if smuggling is suspected. Also, the participants are to cooperate in apprehending contraband cargo if a country suspects a ship flying the flag of another country of smuggling. The Department of State leads U.S. participation in this program with support from DOE and other departments as appropriate.34 A key question in all of these activities is, of course, the capabilities of detection equipment to identify contraband, even radioactive contraband (see Box 1-6). Many detection techniques—both passive and active—have been investigated in recent years, with a focus on standard metal sea-land transport containers. Research to enhance detection techniques continues to be a thrust of several DOE national laboratories, and industry as well, and is expected to continue for the indefinite future.35 DOE’S GLOBAL THREAT REDUCTION INITIATIVE DOE’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative has two radiological components—one directed to activities in the United States and one directed to international activities. However, the domestic component is also called on to support a limited number of international activities. As discussed earlier in this chapter, the United States program focuses on identifying, recovering, and placing in secure storage excess and unwanted IRSs. The program also recovers certain IRSs of U.S. manufacture when found excess in other countries. 34 U.S. Department of State. No date. Proliferation Security Initiative. U.S. Department of State. Available online at http://www.state.gov/t/np/c10390.htm. Accessed November 20, 2006. 35 A recent review of detection technologies is presented in Kouzes, R. T. 2005. Detecting illicit nuclear materials. American Scientist 93(5):422-427.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism BOX 1-7 International activities have involved 40 countries and have included recovery, replacement, and disposition of radioisotope thermoelectric generators in Russia; construction of radiological storage sites in Uzbekistan and Moldova; and security enhancements in Yemen, Egypt, Tanzania, the Philippines, Indonesia, Chile, Ecuador, and Panama. SOURCE: DOE presentation at the first meeting of the Committee on International Efforts to Counter Radiological Terrorism, Washington, D.C., January 4-5, 2006. Internationally, the program has the following two goals: Accelerate bilateral and multilateral efforts to deny terrorists access to radiological assets by securing or removing vulnerable radioactive material. Interdict material that has already been diverted from insecure sites. DOE uses a variety of approaches to achieve these goals. For example, international partnerships are formed around training; infrastructure development; search, secure, and recovery operations; and disposal of high-risk sources (see Box 1-7). DOE also provides regulatory assistance to IAEA member states that lack effective cradle-to-grave controls and works with the IAEA in packaging and conditioning excess IRSs and updating IAEA’s Radioactive Source Catalog.36 In terms of partnering with the IAEA, DOE support has been substantial, including support for technical assistance and occasionally for recovery missions in a number of countries. In FY 2005, DOE supported the IAEA in recovering IRSs from Sudan. This work has also included training IAEA recovery teams from a number of African countries in methods to package, transport, and store plutonium and americium sources. In May 2005, training in plutonium source recovery methods was supported by DOE as part of IAEA source recovery operations in Uruguay, which teams from Brazil and Argentina attended as observers.37 36 Communication from DOE, January 2006. 37 DOE. 2006. Presentation at the first meeting of the Committee on International Efforts to Counter Radiological Terrorism, Washington, D.C., January 4-5.

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U.S.–Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism As a final example of partnering, DOE has provided Interpol with handheld detection devices.38 COORDINATION AMONG U.S. GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES The General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office) has for several years underscored the need for DOE, along with other government departments and agencies, to take additional steps to develop government-wide plans for international program activities in addressing the security of IRSs.39 At the same time, DHS is acquiring a greater capability to develop its own counterterrorism strategy and programs, and the department is looking beyond the U.S. border in this regard, as it should. Also, in 2005-2006 a number of federal and state agencies collaborated to address IRS problems. Clearly, such interagency coordination is a critical aspect of preventing the detonation of an RDD in the United States. Such coordination will also contribute significantly to the effectiveness of U.S. efforts abroad. Coordination between U.S. enforcement agencies and international counterparts is important (e.g., Interpol, Europol, World Customs Organization). Also, sharing of information widely among interested U.S. departments and agencies prior to and following international coordination meetings is essential. 38 Ibid. 39 See for example: U.S. General Accounting Office. 2002. Nuclear Nonproliferation: U.S. Efforts to Help Other Countries Combat Nuclear Smuggling Need Strengthened Coordination and Planning. GAO-02-426. Washington, D.C.: GAO. U.S. General Accounting Office. 2003. Nuclear Nonproliferation: U.S. and International Assistance Efforts to Control Sealed Radioactive Sources Need Strengthening. GAO-03-638. Washington, D.C.: GAO.