NNSA Conducts Counterterrorism Briefing for IAEA

Press Release
May 30, 2008

VIENNA, AUSTRIA – A senior U.S. nuclear emergency response official briefed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and IAEA member countries today on strategies and capabilities for responding to nuclear terrorist threats.

The National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Joseph J. Krol, associate administrator for emergency operations, discussed the threat of nuclear terrorism, various ways to counter that threat, and the specific role that nuclear materials detection and related capabilities play in the strategy.  Krol also provided information on U.S. assets that are available to support the response to a terrorist event.   He briefed the IAEA at the request of U.S. Ambassador Gregory Schulte – the permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other international organizations in Vienna.

"NNSA has a world-class nuclear emergency response capability and is willing to support the efforts of other nations," said Krol.  "I am always proud to talk about the amazing men and women we have working hard every day on this important national security mission."

NNSA has over 60 years of nuclear weapons experience in responding to nuclear and radiological accidents and incidents worldwide.  It provides technical support to the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, and Defense for nuclear terrorism events and domestic nuclear weapon accidents and incidents.  NNSA emergency response assets also provide support to nuclear site and facility accidents and incidents.

NNSA's technical and expert knowledge of nuclear weapons and other explosive devices is useful in developing strategies to respond to possible radiological dispersal devices, often known as "dirty bombs," and improvised nuclear devices.  NNSA is the lead agency to support federal, state, and local authorities to help locate, recover and secure a radiological device or a lost or stolen U.S. nuclear weapon.  The agency also has the capability to conduct forensic analysis of a sample or device to identify, among other things, its source and the persons or groups responsible for its use in planned or actual acts of terrorism.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371