NNSA's Nuclear Counterterrorism (NCT) Program, in concert with other offices in the Department of Energy, as well as other domestic and international government agencies, develops and implements pre-emptive strategies to eliminate terrorist improvised nuclear device (IND) threats through assessment of vulnerabilities and through identification and development of appropriate protective measures. The Nuclear Counterterrorism Program contributes to this effort by:
The NCT campaign works to identify and understand improvised nuclear device threats and to prevent or mitigate the consequences of such threats. NCT’s near-term goal is to provide detection and render-safe solutions for the non-stockpile nuclear weapons threats. We also support implementation and provide guidance for enhancements on global nuclear material security requirements.
Long term, we work to facilitate change in the global nuclear fuel cycle and other nuclear material processes to eliminate sources of IND threats and delay dissemination and disclosure of IND weapons design information.
In the post-9/11 world, the U.S. government must continually improve and perfect the nation’s ability to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism. NNSA has specialized knowledge and expertise to best understand the scientific and technical aspects of the threat of INDs, or terrorist nuclear weapons. NNSA has the unique ability to leverage the nuclear weapons design knowledge and expertise resident within NNSA and its three nuclear weapons laboratories: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. This understanding of nuclear weapons physics underpins the assessment of IND designs and the development of advanced diagnostics and render-safe techniques for the nation.
NCT is expanding to better address the threat of a terrorist nuclear attack by now partnering with the nuclear weapon incident response field as well as continuing its close relationship with the nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship program.
While funding and management authority for this program resides within NNSA, NCT activities are closely coordinated with other government agencies and relevant NNSA elements to ensure national counterterrorism objectives are accomplished.