The U.S. government is also concerned about the targeting of dirty bombs against U.S. assets abroad. Such assets include embassies, military bases, privately owned establishments, and other facilities of importance to the U.S. government or private sector. Disruption of activities at some of these facilities, particularly those that serve as governmental centers or as transportation or communication hubs, would have profound security implications.

The IAEA is leading international efforts to enhance the security of IRSs. The agency has prepared the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources1 and supporting documents that provide guidance for ensuring both the safety and the security of IRSs. It has developed recommended approaches for member states to control their imports and exports of IRSs.2 Also, it has long had a technical assistance program to help member states improve the security of IRSs. These efforts are a good beginning, but worldwide implementation remains a major challenge. DOE, in close cooperation with the IAEA, has undertaken a limited but important set of cooperative activities with a number of countries in enhancing the security of IRSs in these countries. Programs in Russia have been an important component of this global effort.

This report focuses on IRSs in Russia. Based on site visits by committee members, consultations with dozens of Russian and U.S. specialists, and reports prepared by our Russian collaborators, the committee concludes that shortcomings in the security and life-cycle management of IRSs in Russia present a serious problem.

Hence, the special attention directed to security of IRSs in Russia within DOE’s global programs is very appropriate. The Soviet Union had many potent IRSs throughout the country, probably numbering in the tens of thousands. Most of them were located in the Russian Republic of the USSR and remain in the Russian Federation today. Additional IRSs are being manufactured at the Mayak Production Association and elsewhere in Russia for use in the country and for export.

The task of adequately securing even the most dangerous IRSs in Russia is daunting. For example, hundreds of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) are located in the northern reaches of the country,


IAEA. 2004. Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. Vienna: IAEA.


IAEA. 2005. Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources. Vienna: IAEA. Available online at Accessed November 14, 2006.

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