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Nuclear Forensics

Forensics Operations The National Technical Nuclear Forensics (NTNF) program is a Homeland Security Council and National Security Council-sponsored policy initiative that establishes federal agency missions and institutionalizes roles and responsibilities to enable operational support for materials, pre-detonation device, and post-detonation nuclear or radiological forensics programs with the broader goal of attribution.  Technical nuclear forensics utilizes the data from forensic analysis of a sample or device to identify, among other things, the source of the sample or device and the persons or groups responsible for its use in planned or actual acts of terrorism.

This initiative assigns NNSA the following responsibilities:

  •     Develop and sustain pre-detonation nuclear device forensics operational concept of operations and associated capabilities;
  •     Take physical custody of recovered nuclear explosive devices;
  •     Support the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the collection of materials samples and other forensics data from such devices; and
  •     Establish and maintain a domestic post-detonation ground debris collection capability to determine where the device or materials originated.

Forensics OperationsThe Office of National Technical Nuclear Forensics manages the NNSA's technical nuclear forensics assets and capabilities that support pre-detonation device and post detonation nuclear forensics.  The office provides the overall program management and the organizational structure in support of technical nuclear forensics for the personnel, equipment, and activities that make up the program.  The office is responsible for developing and maintaining nuclear forensics operational capabilities for improvised nuclear devices and radiological dispersal devices in support of the FBI.