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NNSA: Securing Domestic Radioactive Material

February 01, 2011

In April 2009, President Obama
outlined an ambitious agenda to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the
world within four years, calling the danger of a terrorist acquiring nuclear
weapons "the
most immediate and extreme threat to global security."
In this year's
State of the Union, he called the threat of nuclear weapons, "the greatest danger to the American people." 
  The President’s FY 2012 budget request provides the resources required
to implement that agenda. It requests $2.5 billion in FY 2012 and $14.2 billion
over the next five years to reduce the global nuclear threat by detecting,
securing, safeguarding, disposing and controlling nuclear and radiological
material, as well as promoting the responsible application of nuclear
technology and science.

In addition to securing nuclear
material around the world, NNSA plays a key role in the U.S. government's
comprehensive effort to secure radiological material here at home. NNSA’s Global
Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) oversees two programs aimed at securing
radioactive materials in the United States. 
NNSA/GTRI’s Domestic Material Protection program collaborates with
partner sites like hospitals and universities to provide voluntary security
enhancements to prevent terrorists from acquiring in-use radiological
materials. NNSA/GTRI’s Domestic Radiological Material Removal Program removes
radiological sources that are no longer being used for disposal or secure
storage.

Taken together with the
President’s commitment to partner with the international community to secure
vulnerable nuclear and radiological material around the world, these domestic security
programs demonstrate this Administration's commitment to protecting the
American people from nuclear terrorism.

Upgraded Physical Security at Radiological
Sites

There are thousands of civilian
sites where radiological materials are used for legitimate and beneficial
commercial, medical and research purposes. NNSA works in cooperation with
federal, state and local agencies, and private industry to install security
enhancements on high priority nuclear and radiological materials located at
civilian sites in the United States.

These voluntary security
enhancements complement but do not replace Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
and Agreement State increased control requirements.  Because the
facilities do not have the resources to make these security upgrades, NNSA will
fund the upgrades and initial maintenance if the facility agrees to take over
all further maintenance.

In working to prevent the
use of domestic radioactive sources in a terrorist attack, NNSA has
successfully completed the following:

  • Identified
    more than 2,700 vulnerable buildings to date with high-priority radiological
    material in the United States.
  • As
    of February 28, 2011, completed NNSA security enhancements at 251 of these
    buildings, with the remainder aiming to be completed by 2025.
  • Identified
    more than 800 Cesium irradiators domestically, 238 received security
    enhancements to date using the NNSA-developed in-device delay (IDD) security
    technology.

Secured "Dirty Bomb" Material

  • NNSA/GTRI
    has an ongoing domestic program, the Off-Site Source Recovery Program (OSRP),
    to recover excess and unwanted sources from Nuclear Regulatory
    Commission or agreement state licensees. The Department has
    recovered over 27,000 disused and unwanted sources containing more than 800,000
    curies of activity to date.

Provided Security-Related Training

  • NNSA
    is providing Alarm Response Training (ART) at the Y-12 Nuclear Security Complex
    in Tennessee to local law enforcement officers from across the country. As of February
    28, 2011, the ART has trained 1118 officers.  In addition, off-site
    training has been conducted for 103 sites in more than a dozen major
    metropolitan cities.