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NUCLEAR FORENSICS

A CAPABILITY AT RISK

(Abbreviated Version)

Committee on Nuclear Forensics

Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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NUCLEAR FORENSICS A CAPABILITY AT RISK (Abbreviated Version)       Committee on Nuclear Forensics    Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board  Division on Earth and Life Studies  THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS  Washington, D.C.   www.nap.edu 

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by contract number DE-AM01-04PI4513, DE-AT01-08NA28455.A000, TO#24 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Committee on Nuclear Forensics ALBERT CARNESALE, University of California, Los Angeles, Chair MARVIN L. ADAMS, Texas A&M University, College Station R. STEPHEN BERRY, University of Chicago (retired), Illinois SUE B. CLARK, Washington State University, Pullman JAY C. DAVIS, Hertz Foundation, Livermore, California JOHN A. GORDON, U.S. Air Force (retired), Alexandria, Virginia DARLEANE C. HOFFMAN, University of California (retired), Oakland MICHAEL O. LARSON, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (retired), California MILTON LEVENSON, Bechtel International (retired), Menlo Park, California RANDALL S. MURCH, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Alexandria DANIEL B. PONEMAN,* The Scowcroft Group, Washington, DC JERRY B. WILHELMY, Los Alamos National Laboratory (retired), Honolulu, Hawaii STAFF MICAH D. LOWENTHAL, Study Director TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative and Financial Associate SHAUNTEÉ WHETSTONE, Senior Program Assistant *Daniel Poneman resigned from committee in May 2009 when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the position of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy. v

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Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board RICHARD A. MESERVE, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, DC, Chair BARBARA J. MCNEIL, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, Vice Chair JOONHONG AHN, University of California, Berkeley JOHN S. APPLEGATE, Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington MICHAEL L. CORRADINI, University of Wisconsin-Madison PATRICIA J. CULLIGAN, Columbia University, New York City, New York SARAH C. DARBY, Oxford University, United Kingdom JAY C. DAVIS, Hertz Foundation, Livermore, California ROBERT C. DYNES, University of California, San Diego JOE GRAY, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California DAVID G. HOEL, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston HEDVIG HRICAK, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, New York THOMAS H. ISAACS, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California ANNIE B. KERSTING, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California FRED A. METTLER, JR., New Mexico VA Health Care System, Albuquerque BORIS F. MYASOEDOV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow RICHARD J. VETTER, Mayo Clinic (retired), Rochester, Minnesota RAYMOND G. WYMER, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired), Oak Ridge, Tennessee Staff KEVIN D. CROWLEY, Director MICAH D. LOWENTHAL, Program Director SARAH CASE, Program Officer TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative and Financial Associate LAURA D. LLANOS, Administrative and Financial Associate SHAUNTEÉ WHETSTONE, Senior Program Assistant ERIN WINGO, Senior Program Assistant JAMES YATES, JR., Office Assistant vi

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Preface to the Abbreviated Version This is an abbreviated version of the National Academies' report on sustaining and improving the nation's nuclear forensics capabilities, entitled, Nuclear Forensics: A Capability at Risk (U). The full version of that report, which is classified, was issued in January 2010. The Committee on Nuclear Forensics has been informed about progress made since that time on several matters related directly to the committee’s findings and recommendations. There has been a modest increase in funding for nuclear forensics. As required by the 2010 Defense Authorization Act, the President has issued a 5-year strategic plan for work in this area. His National Security Staff has informed the committee staff that an interagency policy committee will soon be initiated to develop strategic requirements for nuclear forensics. The Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee has issued guidelines on which measurements would be most valuable for post-detonation nuclear forensics. Guidance has been issued on which nuclear forensics matters may be discussed with non-U.S. citizens. The interagency apparatus has begun work on reconciling security classification guidance among the responsible agencies. The National Level Exercise 2010, held in May, for the first time incorporated attribution in a nuclear detonation exercise. A nuclear forensics personnel pipeline program is funding fellowships for graduate students and supporting professors in a few mission-relevant fields, and has created a nuclear forensics summer school. Other actions have been taken but remain beyond the bounds of this abbreviated report for national security reasons. These all appear to be positive developments, although the committee has not had a chance to review them. Much work remains to be done on matters raised by the committee. It appears that these issues are being recognized by the responsible federal agencies and the White House, and steps are being taken to address them. Albert Carnesale, Chair Committee on Nuclear Forensics vii

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Preface Leaders of the United States for more than a decade have believed that nuclear terrorism is among the gravest threats to our nation. Beyond the terrible loss of life, which in itself is difficult to appreciate fully, the successful detonation of one or more nuclear explosives in a U.S. city and the potential for more detonations could transform our nation into a national security state, focused on common defense to the detriment of the justice, general welfare, and blessings of liberty envisioned by our nation's founders. The nation's responses to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, hint at this danger. America has proven resilient, but a nuclear detonation would cause far more death and destruction than were seen on 9/11. Our nation's ability to conduct forensic analyses of nuclear materials, nuclear explosions, and debris from radiological dispersion devices can contribute substantially to deterring, limiting, and responding to nuclear terrorism—complementing and enhancing efforts to secure nuclear materials and detect theft, diversion, and clandestine production. The capability to identify or exclude possible origins of nuclear material could, most importantly, enhance U.S. diplomatic and investigative efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. The crucial importance of nuclear forensics invites questions such as this: What capabilities are embodied in the current U.S. nuclear forensics program, and how might they best be sustained and improved? These basic but highly important matters are addressed in this report by the National Academies Committee on Nuclear Forensics. Nuclear materials and weapons have, since their discovery, required special attention. The development of nuclear forensic analyses took place largely in secret at a few laboratories. The nature of the work dictates that some of it will have to remain connected to but separate from other forensic science research, development, and practice. For that reason, the nuclear forensics program must stand on its own. The committee was aided in its efforts by knowledgeable, skilled, and accommodating members of the National Research Council staff. In particular, Micah Lowenthal, the study director, was invaluable in organizing and marshalling the effort, as well as for his substantive contributions. He and we received considerable assistance from Toni Greenleaf and Shaunteé Whetstone on the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board staff and from the program security staff of the National Academies. To these individuals, and to others within and outside of government who provided information, perspectives, and the benefits of their experience and wisdom, we are sincerely grateful. Albert Carnesale, Chair Committee on Nuclear Forensics ix

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Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards of objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Donald Barr, Los Alamos National Laboratory (retired) Linton A. Brooks, National Nuclear Security Administration (retired) Charles Craft, Sandia National Laboratories John Foster, GKN Aerospace Transparency Systems, Inc. Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, LEG Consulting, Inc. Stanley G. Prussin, University of California (emeritus) Wayne Shotts, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (retired) In addition, Carol Burns (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Nathan Wimer (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), and staff in the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center each conducted fact checks on excerpts of the draft report that contained no findings or recommendations. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report's conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Cherry Murray of Harvard University and Richard A. Meserve of the Carnegie Institution for Science. Appointed by the Report Review Committee and the Division on Earth and Life Studies, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Research Council. xi

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Contents Executive Summary 1 Summary 3 Appendix: Brief Biographies of Committee Members 13 xiii

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