would certainly raise skepticism about the effectiveness of the organization in dealing with critical security issues.
A radiological incident in Russia could cause the Russian government to reassess its policy of aggressively exporting Russian IRSs to dozens of U.S. public- and private-sector organizations that depend on such sources for medical, agricultural, or industrial applications.
Presidents Putin and Bush committed at Bratislava in 2005 and during previous summits to cooperation in preventing fissile and radioactive material from falling into the hands of terrorists. A serious radiological incident would undermine the significance of such political commitments that encompass many areas of great importance to the United States.
The Russian government has significant experience in dealing with major nuclear accidents, such as those at Chernobyl, Mayak, and Tomsk. Significant lessons relevant to dealing with radiological incidents in the United States could be learned from its experience.
The Russian technical community has developed impressive technologies and methodologies for detecting illicit trafficking of radioactive materials, and joint studies and field exercises could benefit both countries.
An RDD incident in Russia could discourage the growing U.S. commercial interest in investments and operations in Russia as well as the interest of European countries. Reduction of such interest would be particularly significant in the oil and gas sectors.
An RDD incident in Russia would erode Russia’s ability to effectively participate in global efforts to combat terrorism on many fronts.
Thus, it is clear that the United States has a direct and substantial interest in the security of IRSs in Russia. While thefts of IRSs close to U.S. government and U.S. private-sector facilities would be of great concern (e.g., Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg), thefts at more distant locations where large amounts of dangerous radionuclides are located should also be of concern. In short, it is difficult to prioritize security upgrades solely on the basis of location or inventory of the facility. The entire nationwide security situation needs attention.