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Preventing Nuclear Smuggling Program

ORISE helps other nations to fight theft of nuclear materials

With the knowledge needed to incorporate radiological materials in an explosive device now widely available and unsecured stockpiles still a reality, nuclear smuggling remains a global security threat.

How ORISE is Making a Difference

Recent seizures of weapon-grade nuclear materials suggest such materials remain in illegal circulation and could be used to kill tens or hundreds of thousands of people. ORISE has extended its national security expertise to assist government leaders and law enforcement in many countries as they unite in efforts to apprehend and prosecute nuclear materials smugglers.

ORISE is working with the U.S. Department of State’s Preventing Nuclear Smuggling Program (PNSP) to prevent nuclear smuggling abroad and in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to strengthen the nation’s ability to detect smuggled materials if they enter U.S. borders.

Since 2009, ORISE has worked with PNSP to provide workshops that help foreign governments enhance their capabilities, equipment, training and plans for preventing and responding to the spread of nuclear and radiological materials. Consisting of meetings and tabletop exercises, the workshops focus on three smuggling scenarios and explore the technical, political and law enforcement aspects of nuclear smuggling. Following these events, participating governments continue to collaborate with the PNSP delegation to further enhance anti-smuggling efforts.

ORISE has delivered these two-day workshops throughout Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa. Collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy and European Commission at a Nuclear Forensics Awareness Workshop, ORISE also partnered with the PNSP to facilitate a tabletop exercise for attendees from the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Currently, ORISE and PNSP are planning a new series of events in collaboration with the Government of Moldova and the Government of Tajikistan.

If radiological materials elude defensive measures taken abroad, ORISE is also applying its expertise in radiological detection and security to stop the unauthorized transport of nuclear materials and protect the United States’ critical infrastructure. Working with the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ORISE provides training in detection of radiological materials to law enforcement tasked with protecting major U.S. transportation hubs.