WSSX - A Joint U.S.-Russian Nuclear Counterterrorism Exchange
T. R. Crites
In 1994, the U.S. and Russian Federation governments formally agreed to exchange information on the safety and security of nuclear weapons. This agreement included three major elements, called Technical Working Groups (TWGs). TWG C deals with counterterrorism. Its four assigned actions and U.S./Russian experience are reviewed in this paper. Although active exchange programs were created under TWGs A and B, involving workshops and laboratory-to-laboratory development projects, little work was initiated in TWG C, due to the sensitive nature of this information. After 9/11, however, it became clear that much could be gained by having each country share information to help solve the problem of nuclear proliferation among terrorist groups. Government-to-government meetings have reaffirmed the initial agreement to exchange information on this topic, and a number of joint project proposals are now under discussion. The Joint Steering Committee that oversees this exchange has approved approximately 20 projects. They include such topics as terrorist threat scenario development, detection of nuclear material and explosives in transportation containers, analysis of material mass and configuration, and consequence mitigation. It is expected that the joint development of these capabilities will enhance our ability to respond to a nuclear threat and to facilitate mutual assistance, should either party experience a nuclear terrorist event.
This abstract was presented at the 36th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety Aspects of Homeland Security and Emergency Response", Operational Health Physics Aspects/Impacts of Homeland Defense Session, 1/26/2003 - 1/29/2003, held in San Antonio, TX.