Terms of Reference
(excerpted from a June 23, 1998 letter from the National Research Council to Brookhaven National Laboratory)23
The assessment will be a follow-on activity to our earlier assessment set forth in 1997 in Proliferation Concerns: Assessing US Efforts To Help Contain Nuclear and Other Dangerous Materials and Technologies in the Former Soviet Union, National Research Council, National Academy Press, 1997. Given the importance of MPC&A programs in the former Soviet Union in promoting our national security interests and the extensive DOE activities during the past two years, a new assessment seems appropriate. We understand that this external assessment of DOE activities will complement an internal review being led by Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Our assessment will be directed primarily to programs in Russia. We will revisit the scope of the threat of theft or diversion of unirradiated HEU or separated plutonium, taking into account the many new insights gained by DOE during the past two years. We will consider, for example, the number and vulnerability of Russian sites where HEU and plutonium are located, the amount of material involved, and the effectiveness of MPC&A systems that are in place and under development. Also, using the recommendations in our earlier report as an initial checklist for reviewing activities, we will identify both successes and weaknesses in cooperative approaches to date; and we will extract lessons learned that should be taken into account in future activities.
We will give special attention to progress in "indigenization" within Russia of MPC&A capabilities: (a) the development of a cadre of committed Russian MPC&A specialists who embrace a culture that does not tolerate violations of the principles of sound MPC&A programs; (b) the development of a technical infrastructure that can provide both MPC&A equipment and services to Russian facilities; and (c) the acceptance within the Russian Government and at the facility level of commitments to provide the necessary priority to MPC&A that will
sustain momentum in the programs over the long term. Also, we will consider how DOE can help ensure that Russian counterparts will continue to improve MPC&A systems after the initial upgrades have been installed at Russian facilities.
In carrying out the project, we will establish a committee of specialists. Initially, they will meet in Washington with DOE officials, American providers of equipment for the program, and other interested parties. Insights from the Brookhaven review will be of considerable benefit to the committee. An early topic for consideration by the committee will be the approaches of DOE in providing support for the many diverse cooperative activities scattered across Russia. We recognize that with the rapid growth of the program there are severe personnel demands both on DOE management and on the American MPC&A specialists leading the effort; an understanding of this reality is important in assessing the approaches that have been adopted and in suggesting future steps. We anticipate that committee members will visit several DOE laboratories to obtain inputs from their specialists.
We are planning a two-week visit by the committee to Russia during the fall of 1998. One week will be spent in the Moscow area. There they will consult with MINATOM officials, return to several sites that our previous committee visited two years ago, visit several sites where DOE has "finished the job," and observe progress in developing the technical infrastructure for supporting MPC&A activities over the long term. During the second week, the committee will visit several locations outside Moscow where MPC&A upgrades are in progress.
Following the visit to Russia, the committee will continue its consultations with specialists from DOE and the laboratories, with a view to completing its report in about seven months. Reports resulting from this effort shall be prepared in sufficient quantity to ensure their distribution to the sponsor and to other relevant parties, in accordance with Academy policy. Reports may be made available to the public without restrictions.