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16 U.S.-Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism John F. Ahearne, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society Later in 2007, the U.S. National Academies will publish the report of the Committee on Opportunities for U.S.-Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism. 1 The following are key extracts from this report. Packaging conventional explosives with radioactive material and detonating a radiological dispersal device (RDD) to kill and terrorize peopleâthe âdirty bombâ scenarioâis, unfortunately, readily within the means of some terrorist groups. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that radioactive materials needed to build an RDD can be found in almost any country in the world and that more than 100 countries may have inadequate control and monitoring programs neces- sary to prevent or even detect the theft of these materials. The agency also reports numerous incidents of illicit trafficking in radioactive materials, including ionizing radiation sources (IRSs) used in medical, agricultural, and industrial applications. Potential links of such trafficking with international criminal organizations heighten the concern about these materials falling into the hands of terrorists, who could use them in RDDs or in other ways to threaten populations. The challenges in preventing detonations of RDDs are immense, and they will persist for many years. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of inadequately protected IRSs that are considered dangerous by safety standards adopted by the IAEA are present in many countries. Some are in use, some are in storage, and some are await- ing permanent disposal. Also, some IRSs have been simply abandoned by their legal 160
U.S.-RUSSIAN COLLABORATION IN COMBATING RADIOLOGICAL TERRORISM 161 custodians, since there were no financially affordable disposal pathways for those that had exceeded their useful lifetimes or were no longer needed. Poorly protected IRSs, and particularly those that have been abandoned, can become easy prey for terrorist groups. The IAEA is leading international efforts to enhance security of IRSs. The agency has prepared the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioac- tive Sources and supporting documents that provide guidance for ensuring both the safety and the security of IRSs. Also, it has long had a technical assistance program to help member states improve the security of IRSs. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in close cooperation with the IAEA, has undertaken a limited but important set of cooperative activities with other countries in enhancing security of IRSs in those countries. Programs in Russia have been an important component of this global effort. The committee 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. Based on site visits by committee members, consultations with dozens of Russian and U.S. specialists, and reports pre- pared 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 DOEâs global programs is very appropriate. A successful RDD detonation in Russia, or indeed in any country, poses serious problems for the United States. Such attacks could provide a âproof of principleâ for terrorists who have not yet used radiological weapons, possibly encouraging copycat attacks by terrorists in the United States or against U.S. interests abroad. An RDD attack in Russia or elsewhere could undermine the credibility of the IAEA as an ef- fective international organization for ensuring nuclear safety and security, just at a time when the United States is firmly committed to strengthening this organization to deal with nuclear security and nonproliferation issues worldwide. The United States has considerable interest in helping to ensure that the security of IRSs in Russia meets an international level of acceptability and that Russia improves the full life- cycle management of its IRSs. The committee is deeply concerned over the continuing decline in the level of DOE resources being allocated to the cooperative program in Russia. DOE should move forward promptly to work with Russian counterparts to address the most urgent problems and help them develop and implement their program. Of special relevance to development of a comprehensive Russian program for addressing the security of IRSs is the approach of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) in the area of âsafetyâ of IRSs and radioactive waste. Rosatom has developed and regu- larly articulates a comprehensive overview of safety-related actions that are needed and are under way. According to Rosatom officials, this overview is very helpful in guiding the national effort. During the past several years, and particularly since September 11, 2001, inter-
162 COUNTERING TERRORISM national concern over the use by terrorists of radioactive material as a radiological weapon has increased considerably. The possibility of the detonation of an RDD, often referred to as a dirty bomb, which has radioactive material packed in or around conventional explosives, has been the focus of much of this apprehension. Press reports of illicit trafficking in radioactive material, Web chat attributed to terrorist groups, and discovery of primitive drawings of dirty bombs in the possession of international terrorist groups have heightened the concern. In addition to misuse of radiological sources considered in this study, radio- logical terrorism could be carried out by sabotage of a nuclear facility, waste site, or transport container. Terrorists might attempt to detonate, set fire to, or other- wise cause serious dispersion of radioactive material located within the target area. However, this report focuses primarily on dispersion of radioactive material. Terrorists might acquire by theft or other means nonfissile radioactive material and disperse such material with conventional explosives in an RDD. Other forms of radiological terrorism include the dispersion of radioactive material through public pathways, such as water supplies, roadways, or indoor heating or ven- tilation ducts. Another form of radiological terrorism is posed by radiological exposure devices, which are radiation sources placed in public places that simply irradiate nearby persons rather than dispersing the radioactive material. Funding and time limitations led the committee to concentrate on RDDs. Unfortunately, few if any countries have given sufficient attention to the security of IRSs during their entire life cycle (from fabrication to final disposal), particularly after they have exceeded their useful lifetime or are no longer needed. In recognition of the security importance of ensuring that unwanted IRSs are not left unattended, in 2002, DOE moved its Orphan Source Recovery Program to its threat reduction or- ganization. Similarly, the IAEA greatly expanded its Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and associated IRS programs to go beyond safety concerns and focus as well on security, including orphan source recovery. Several Russian research organizations have been analyzing on a broad basis developments in Russia relevant to this study. For example, the Nuclear Safety Institute (IBRAE) of the Russian Academy of Sciences has published many articles on radiological terrorism concerns in Russia and other countries, including security of IRSs. A study commissioned by the National Research Council and carried out by IBRAE provides a Russian perspective on many aspects of the topic of this re- port. Findings of the study are included in this report as appropriate. The Institute of Chemical Technology of Rosatom, in cooperation with several other Russian institutes, has prepared a series of reports on distribution of radioactive material and radioactive contamination in Russia, under a broadly based program entitled âThe Radiation Legacy of the Soviet Union.â Because IRSs have beneficial uses inextricably integrated into medicinal, agri- cultural, 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
U.S.-RUSSIAN COLLABORATION IN COMBATING RADIOLOGICAL TERRORISM 163 hands of terrorists through life-cycle management while at the same time preparing to manage the consequences if dirty bomb events occur. Of course, RDDs cannot trigger a nuclear explosion with its familiar mushroom cloud. Unlike nuclear weapons, they cannot instantly kill tens to hundreds of thou- sands of people and obliterate a city. 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 to prevent events. 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. But 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. The possible consequences of an RDD incident can only be predicted through analysis of the impacts of major radiation accidents and other types of relevant events and from hypothetical scenarios. The IBRAE report postulates several scenarios and discusses possible health, economic, and disruption impacts. Of particular concern are cleanup problems associated with different radionuclides. When properly packaged, adequately shielded, and appropriately handled for their intended use, IRSs are safe, even when they contain the most lethal radio- nuclides. 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. 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 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. 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. The IAEA has developed the accepted international standard for categorizing IRSs according to the safety aspects of each type of IRS.2 Orphan sources are IRSs that are considered by their legal custodians as no longer needed and have simply been abandoned. They are substantial problems in many countries, including Russia. A particularly worrisome security vulnerability results when IRSs are no longer needed and a clear and affordable disposition path does not exist. An important concern in the United States is the possible malevolent use of
164 COUNTERING TERRORISM unaccounted-for IRSs, a problem that began to gain increased attention well before September 11, 2001. However, the lack of available disposal pathways for some IRSs leaves licensees limited viable options when IRSs are no longer needed. The regula- tory 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. In 2006 the DOE 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. Achieve- ments within the United States of DOEâs Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and its predecessor programs since 1997 have included recovery of more than 12,000 high-risk radiological sources. As of August 2005, DOE had participated in installation of security upgrades and new construction at more than 100 sites in the former Soviet Union. This activ- ity included 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. RADIATION SOURCES IN RUSSIA Russia possesses a very large number of IRSs, dating from production during Soviet times and continuing to today with production in Russia. The number of IRSs has been reported by IBRAE to be more than 500,000, but experts from this institute and other organizations readily acknowledge that the number is probably much greater and could be as large as 1 million or more. Of special concern are the thousands of high-activity IRSs of IAEA Categories 1, 2, and 3 that were produced during the Soviet era and distributed throughout the Soviet Union. A significant number were also exported to other states with close ties to Moscow. Many of these IRSs are still located in other former Soviet states as well as in Russia. A particularly troublesome aspect of the Soviet nuclear legacy is the large number of inadequately protected high-activity IRSs that have been used as radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) to supply small amounts of electrical power at remote sites, primarily in Russia, with a few also sent to outlying states. Security of IRSs eroded rapidly during the dramatic political and economic transitions in Russia in the early 1990s. The state system was in turmoil. The institu- tions that had IRSs in their possession lost much of their financial base, and individu- als in charge were often changed with little advance notice. Indeed, the authority vested in various components of the regulatory system was in a state of flux, and the government soon lost track of very large numbers of IRSs. Many privatized institu-
U.S.-RUSSIAN COLLABORATION IN COMBATING RADIOLOGICAL TERRORISM 165 tions stopped reporting their inventories to the government. Some soon declared bankruptcy and simply walked away from their responsibilities for controlling and accounting for IRSs. Often scavengers collected what they thought was usable metal from equipment that may have contained IRSs. Reports of IRSs being found abandoned in public places and in dormant in- dustrial facilities in recent years have been manyfold. The historical political and economic upheaval has dramatically affected the physical protection, control, and accounting of IRSs. The need to upgrade security is clear. In general, Rosatom has the ultimate responsibility for control and accounting of IRSs within the country with the exception of sources under the purview of the Ministry of Defense. (The committee did not have adequate information to comment on security of IRSs within the military complex other than observations concern- ing RTGs.) Organizations that possess IRSs have the primary responsibility for the physical protection of IRSs and for providing information to Rosatom, directly or indirectly, concerning the control and accounting of their inventories of IRSs. Russian officials admit that enforcement is a problem. When organizations do not comply with Rosatom requirements for providing data on their inventories, Rosatom has two options: (1) send a reprimand to the organization or (2) report the violation to the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight (Rostekhnadzor), which has the authority to withdraw the organizationâs operating license. Rostekhnadzor officials pointed out to the committee that should a license be withdrawn, the agency has no means to remove or secure the IRSs that are affected. Rosatom is attempting to manage problems of inadequate security on a comprehensive basis, but it has limited enforcement authority that is distributed among several organizations and their affiliated branches operating at both the fed- eral and the local levels. As in the United States, a weak link in the regulatory frame- work is end-of-life management of IRSs. Responsibilities become unclear when IRSs are no longer needed and are abandoned. On the whole, in Russia many skilled and dedicated people with relevant ex- pertise are working on improving legal and regulatory systems related to IRSs and implementing security programs at the facility level. However, while organizational responsibilities seem to be reasonably well defined, the committee believes that the information presented in this report, including reported efforts by Chechen insurgents to use IRSs for malevolent purposes, calls for greater efforts by the Russian authori- ties and international partners to upgrade security efforts for IRSs. The IAEAâs Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources calls for security measures to deter, detect, delay, and respond. In con- sidering security enhancements in Russia, the following specific steps might be considered, based on information available to the committee concerning condi- tions at the facility level: â¢ Improved personnel and vehicle access checkpoints equipped with ap- propriate detection devices
166 COUNTERING TERRORISM â¢ Upgraded perimeter surveillance systems and security alarms â¢ Routine surveillance at IRS storage locations â¢ Improved communication and alarm capabilities within facilities, with connections to external response forces â¢ Power backup supplies and associated lighting systems â¢ Special secure containers for storage and shipment of IRSs Although the Russian government has begun to put some of the key building blocks in place, the system of accounting and control should be strengthened. This step is especially important, since accountability for many IRSs was disrupted during the transition from Soviet to Russian control. Also of critical importance are effective procedures for addressing security of the tens of thousands of IRSs in the range of 1 to 100 curies that are in circula- tion. This is an enormous challenge for Russian organizations. Although steps are under way to improve the accountability of IRSs, many more steps are needed to have adequate life-cycle management. An aggressive program of disposing of unneeded IRSs could reduce the number of organizations and the locations within organizations that require protection. If no clear and affordable disposition path is available, then some facilities may resort to other means to hide or just abandon sources because they cannot afford to secure them properly or ship them to a dis- posal facility. Rosatom has developed a comprehensive approach to providing emergency res- cue and related services. A crisis center operates continually within Rosatom both to coordinate information and to manage day-to-day activities. Special emergency services have been identified throughout the country, with essentially all of Rosatomâs resources on call should a need arise. Special antiterrorist forces have been organized for deployment from both closed nuclear cities and other cities. Special transporta- tion units are available, and even a special militarized mountain rescue brigade is on call. Rosatom is but one of many ministries and agencies prepared to respond to an RDD attack. The emergency response ministry (EMERCOM), the health authori- ties, the police, the security services, and many other federal and local organizations would play important roles. The immediate responsibilities and indeed the longer- term structure of the response would depend to a considerable degree on where the incident occurred and the seriousness of the ensuing contamination. Whereas Moscow appears to have impressive capabilities and experience for responding to an RDD attack, the remainder of the nationâs cities are less well prepared. In many cities, the financial difficulties in the 1990s severely weakened staffs and equipment capabilities to respond to any type of crisis. But in Moscow, the committee observed a level of sophistication regarding emergency operations and response capability that should be of considerable interest to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. With the passage of time following an incident, mistrust of governmental assess-
U.S.-RUSSIAN COLLABORATION IN COMBATING RADIOLOGICAL TERRORISM 167 ments and decisions will most likely arise among some elements of the population. The Russian government has not been strong on risk communication in the pastâa situation that is not unique to Russia. While government services for evacuees are likely to be substantial in scope, as they have been with previous accidents and at- tacks, the quality and sustainability of such services may not be high. The committee noted one apprehension among some Russian colleagues regarding the effects of a radiological attack that is not voiced in the West, namely, the potential for political instability that an effective RDD event might cause as various elements of the popula- tion lose confidence in the governmentâs ability to protect its citizens. In summary, the security of Russian IRSs has several weak links, often asso- ciated with lack of adequate financial resources. Russia was fortunate to progress through the most difficult transition years in the 1990s without a major radiological incident despite serious vulnerabilities. During the past few years, many significant security enhancements have been made, some through the DOE cooperative program. But more work is needed before Russia achieves an internationally acceptable level of security for its inventory of IRSs. In addition to shoring up the security during all phases of the service life of IRSs, a comprehensive life-cycle management approach is essential, with adequate human resources. At the same time, Russia is currently demonstrating that it can safely and securely manufacture and distribute IRSs worldwide on a competitive basis. In this revenue-generating area, the necessary infrastructure seems to be quite adequate. Russia also has a wealth of nuclear science and technology expertise sufficient to develop, manufacture, and deploy state-of-the-art radioactive material detection equipment for protection of its own borders. This equipment is also competitive in the world marketplace and can be offered to other nations for the protection of radioactive materials. 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 facili- ties would be of great concern (for example, 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 on the basis solely of location or inventory of the facility. The entire na- tionwide security situation needs attention. As of the end of 2005, the U.S.-Russian cooperative program to upgrade security of IRSs had focused on four activities: 1. Analysis of information available in Russian databases intended to pro- vide inventories of the numbers, types, and locations of IRSs that are in use or in storage in Russia. These analyses are expected to lead to recommendations concerning priority sites for improved IRS protection and for consolidation of IRSs. 2. Improvement of the security and related infrastructure capabilities at Radon storage and disposal sites
168 COUNTERING TERRORISM 3. Collection and disposal of unwanted IRSs 4. Acceleration of the decommissioning of RTGs that are or have been deployed in Russia, mainly in the Far North DOE program officials informed the committee that their priority was to continue working in these four areas and, if resources permit, to initiate activities that will improve physical protection at health-related facilities that use high- activity IRSs. The state enterprise Izotop is responsible for several aspects of safe handling of radionuclides in Russia, including their safe packaging and transport. Also, it is an important partner of DOE in recovering unwanted IRSs. The specific tasks assigned to Izotop under the cooperative U.S.-Russian program are as follows: â¢ Discover unused, poorly maintained, or abandoned radiation devices and equipment containing IRSs â¢ Inspect equipment and devices proposed for return and for recycling of IRSs that are not being used for their intended purposes or that have been abandoned â¢ Locate, dismantle, consolidate, transport, and bury IRSs in secure repositories â¢ Identify, plan, design, and carry out measures to modernize physical protec- tion, control, and accounting of materials at selected sites where IRSs remain As of December 2005, the cooperative program had recovered 1,732 IRSs with total activity of about 200,000 curies. In addition, security upgrades were installed at the Izotop handling facility. Although these achievements are welcome progress, the program thus far has only touched a very small portion of the IRSs that are unused or have become orphan sources. More than 1,000 RTGs were produced for use in the former Soviet Union. Most of these RTGs were deployed along the coasts of Russia. Almost all were used to power remote navigational and weather stations. For example, more than 130 light- houses in the Far North rely on RTGs for power. Most RTGs are the property of the Russian Navy, while some are under the control of the Ministry of Transportation. The RTGs typically are of very high activity and present both a safety and a security concern not only to Russia but also to its neighbors, should these devices be taken across the Russian border. The removal of RTGs from many locations is constrained by the lack of replace- ment power sources. Norway has been providing solar-powered electricity genera- tors for several years. DOE has used this experience as a base for also providing solar energy devices. Several DOE-financed pilot projects to test new solar power and wind generators are under way using navy sites. An additional pilot project will rely on commercial electrical lines for power. In some cases, Russian authorities have decided that replacement energy sources are not needed. Over the longer term,
U.S.-RUSSIAN COLLABORATION IN COMBATING RADIOLOGICAL TERRORISM 169 several of Russiaâs neighbors in addition to the United States are working with the Russian government with an eventual goal to decommission all RTGs and replace them with alternative power where needed. The cooperative program has made good progress. The database and inven- tory project is beginning to provide a broad picture of the IRS situation in Russia. The rapid physical security upgrades provide much-needed and timely improve- ments. Some of the most dangerous IRSs contained in high-activity RTGs have been taken out of service. However, much more needs to be done by the Russian government and cooperatively to reduce the threat to both U.S. and Russian interests. The cooperative effort has been limited in large measure by inadequate fund- ing in both countries. Some Russian organizations that are responsible for security of IRSs have not indicated an interest in participating in the program. Of par- ticular concern is the lack of involvement of the Ministries of Health and Social Services, Natural Resources and Energy, Agriculture, and Education and Science. All of these ministries have responsibility for stewardship of large numbers of IRSs, and the status of security procedures within the facilities of the ministries is simply not known. Also missing from active participation in the program are the hundreds of enterprises that have IRSs in their possession. Large numbers of inadequately protected IRSs are present in many countries, and particularly IRSs for which there is no longer a need. For these unwanted IRSs, financially affordable disposal pathways often do not exist. Many IRSs are left unattended and unprotected, and they are easy prey for terrorist groups. Groups that have experience in assembling and detonating conventional bombs should be able to readily acquire the skill to handle radioactive material used in IRSs and incorporate such material in dirty bombs. The disruption attendant to an RDD detonation could be widespread, particularly if it occurs outdoors in a densely populated urban area. The number of radiation victims might not be great. However, the likelihood of psychological impacts of a radiological attack leading to widespread fear and social disruption would be high, and the economic costs of closing off and cleaning up contaminated areas would be very significant. The task of securing even the most dangerous IRSs in Russia is daunting. For example, hundreds of radioisotope thermoelectric generators are located in the northern reaches of the country, and the logistics to recover those that are no longer needed or could be replaced with other energy sources are formidable. Criminals have already stripped the metal off some of these RTGs, indicating the vulnerability to theft of the radioactive components as well. In addition to the problem of securing RTGs, the committee observed security deficiencies in protecting other types of IRSs of concern; and dangerous IRSs are located in hundreds of institutes, enterprises, hospitals, and other locations that are within reach of criminals. Also, the committee heard reports of unwanted IRSs being frequently discovered in abandoned facilities and in open fields.
170 COUNTERING TERRORISM Continued encouragement of the Russian government to address the security of IRSs more aggressively in these areas is important. Also, new opportunities for collaboration that builds on early successes have emerged. Important problems were selected for initial program âquick fixesââimproved regional and ministry inventories of IRSs, accelerated time lines to reduce the num- ber of vulnerable RTGs, collection and disposal of unwanted IRSs, and enhanced security at some of its storage and disposal facilities. Initial projects in each of these areas have been successfully completed. The program of quick security fixes is very important and should be continued, and the DOE leadership should expedite its implementation. Meanwhile, DOE should evaluate the effectiveness of ap- proaches that are being used and modify them, if appropriate, to help ensure that the greatest amount of threat reduction is being achieved for the money spent. Of particular concern to the committee is the end-of-life-cycle management of IRSs that are no longer wanted, including many that have been simply abandoned. Of course, counterpart Russian organizations should be involved in evaluation efforts as well as in planning and prioritizing future activities. A primary recommendation of the committee is that DOE develop an overall plan for the use of resources that may become available to DOE in ways that will have the maximum impact on reducing the risks attendant to inadequately secured IRSs in Russia. This plan should indicate how U.S. resources can leverage larger resources of the Russian government and thereby become an important basis for budget requests to support the program. DOE should have a comprehensive plan for all of its relevant global efforts, and within this framework, the plan for Russia should help determine the percentage of available resources that should be allocated for the Russian program. The committee recognizes that progress toward development of a comprehensive Russian program will take time due in large measure to (1) decentralized responsi- bilities in Moscow and throughout the country for undertaking and financing many relevant activities, (2) chronic shortages of necessary funding either from the gov- ernment or from the custodians of IRSs to correct security deficiencies, and (3) a legacy of security problems reflected in many inadequately protected IRSs, problems that are often attributable to organizations that no longer exist. Several federal laws and regulations are already in place, and specialized activities at the federal level, such as the operation of the Radon sites and the Izotop program to collect unwanted IRSs, have been established. But a comprehensive nationwide effort is still a long way off. Thus, the program should include activities to meet high-priority near-term objectives while also reflecting a vision of how best to address the security threats in the long term. Once such a program is in place, the need for DOE to continue to invest significant resources in the cooperative program should diminish. However, cooperation in this field should continue indefinitely as Russia and the United States continue to learn from each other. Although DOEâs financial assistance should phase out in due time, DOE should not have an exit strategy for cooperation, because the threat of radiological terrorism will most likely persist for decades.
U.S.-RUSSIAN COLLABORATION IN COMBATING RADIOLOGICAL TERRORISM 171 Sound risk analysis should be a key tool in setting priorities for the cooperative program. The committee considers the current IAEA and DOE categorizations of risks associated with IRSs to be a reasonable starting point for risk assessment. But risk depends on many factors that have not yet been adequately incorporated into national or international efforts. These factors include not only total activity and half-life but also portability, dispensability, prevalence of use, and public percep- tions and fear of various radionuclides, such as plutonium. At present, only a small fraction of the millions of existing IRSs are generally considered to be high risk, but thousands of other IRSs should be of great concern when taking into account all of the risk factors. Several institutions in the United States and abroad are carrying out research on broadly based quantitative analyses of risks, and the Russian scientific community has a strong tradition in risk analysis. U.S. and Russian experts should work together to develop risk models that take into account the foregoing and other factors, which could provide an improved basis for targeting resources to problems of greatest concern. In summary, only the Russian government has the capability to strengthen the many weaknesses in the security system for IRSs. Nevertheless, DOE and other external partners are in a good position to encourage the Russian government to develop a more comprehensive approach to ensure adequate life-cycle management of IRSs than currently exists. The development of such a comprehensive approach will be the measure of DOEâs success. NOTES 1. Committee on Opportunities for U.S.-Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Ter- rorism. 2007. U.S.-Russian Collaboration in Combating Radiological Terrorism. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Available online at www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11801. Members of the authoring committee included John F. Ahearne (chair), director, Ethics Program, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; Laurin Dodd, managing director, Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Program (SIP), Project Management Unit, Bechtel International Systems, Inc.; Siegfried S. Hecker, director emeritus, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and visiting professor, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University; Darleane C. Hoffman, professor of the Graduate School, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, and faculty senior scientist, Nuclear Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Roger Kasperson, research professor, George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University; and Leroy E. Leonard (consultant to the committee), project leader, Off-Site Source Recovery Project, Los Alamos National Laboratory. 2. Category 1 sources âif 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.â These sources are typically used in practices such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators, irradiators, and radiation teletherapy. Category 2 sources, âif 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.â These sources are typically used in practices such as industrial gamma radiography, high dose rate brachytherapy, and medium dose rate brachytherapy.
172 COUNTERING TERRORISM Category 3 sources, âif 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 possiblyâalthough it is unlikelyâbe fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of days to weeks.â 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.