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Nuclear and Radiological Material Security

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, vast stockpiles of poorly secured weapons-usable nuclear materials and warheads in Russia and other former Soviet Union states emerged as a major threat to U.S. national and international security.

While many of NNSA’s efforts have focused on material security in the former Soviet states, a new threat has emerged.  Terrorists now seek to acquire nuclear and radiological material or nuclear weapons stolen and smuggled from nuclear sites to inflict mass casualties.

NNSA believes that the best way to reduce the threat of a terrorist act using nuclear or radiological material is to deny terrorists access to the material.  In addition to intensive site security efforts, NNSA is also working to build international standards and criteria for nuclear and radiological security.  This includes NNSA’s work to advance physical protection standards for nuclear facilities and to strengthen nuclear safeguards, which are criteria for the physical security and the accounting and control of nuclear and radiological materials.