EU Science Hub

Strengthening cooperation for countering nuclear and radioactive smuggling

Feb 13 2014

A counter nuclear smuggling workshop, co-hosted by the Institute for Transuranium Elements of the European Commission Joint Research Centre and the United States of America, took place on 11-13 February.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB) indicates that nuclear and radioactive materials continue to be encountered out of regulatory control. The Nuclear Security Summits of 2010, 2012 and 2014 and the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security in July 2013 represent cooperative activities to strengthen nuclear security and counter nuclear terrorism.

In this line, the US Department of State and the Institute for Transuranium Elements (JRC-ITU) of the European Commission Joint Research Centre jointly organised a "Countering nuclear and radiological smuggling workshop" on 11-13 February 2014. The workshop, held on the premises of the European Nuclear Security Training Centre at the JRC-ITU in Karlsruhe, Germany, aimed at addressing state of the art and technical challenges associated with detection, response and law enforcement investigation of nuclear smuggling incidents. The two and a half day workshop brought together experts from 38 countries and international organisations, including from the European Union, United States, Interpol and the IAEA. It included a series of informational presentations as well as exercises and demonstrations exhibiting core technical capacities to counter nuclear smuggling acts, detect nuclear and radioactive material out of regulatory control and analyse seized material to trace its illicit movement.

As stated in the technical report resulting from the workshop, sharing good practices and lessons learned regarding investigative and technical capabilities are crucial to effectively counter nuclear and radioactive materials smuggling.