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NNSA: Securing Domestic Radioactive Material

May 29, 2014


In 2004 NNSA established the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) in the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation to, as quickly as possible, identify, secure, remove and/or facilitate the disposition of high risk nuclear and radiological materials around the world that pose a threat to the United States and the international community.

GTRI’s mission is to reduce and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological material located at civilian sites worldwide. GTRI achieves its mission via three initiatives which provide a comprehensive approach to preventing terrorists’ access to nuclear and radiological materials. As part of its mission, GTRI’s Domestic Protect Program, works with U.S. partner sites like hospitals, universities and industry to provide voluntary security enhancements to prevent terrorists from acquiring in-use radiological materials. In addition, GTRI safely and securely recovers radiological sources that U.S. partner sites are no longer using.

Taken together with NNSA’s work to prevent proliferation and secure nuclear material, the Domestic Protect Program demonstrates GTRI’s commitment to protecting the American people from nuclear and radiological terrorism.


Since its inception, GTRI has accelerated its radiological security efforts and made significant progress to further enhance the security of civilian radiological materials, which could be used by terrorists to make a radiological dispersal device ("dirty bomb").

Taken together with the President’s commitment to partner with the international community to secure high-priority nuclear and radiological material around the world, these domestic security programs demonstrate this Administration's commitment to protecting the American people from nuclear terrorism.

Upgraded Physical Security at Radiological Sites

There are thousands of civilian sites where radiological materials are used for legitimate and beneficial commercial, medical and research purposes. GTRI works in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies, and private industry to install security enhancements on high priority nuclear and radiological materials located at civilian sites in the United States.

These voluntary security enhancements complement but do not replace Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Agreement State increased control requirements. Because the facilities do not have the expertise and resources to design and implement these additional security upgrades, GTRI will fund the upgrades and initial maintenance provided the facility agrees to assume responsibility for sustaining security (including all further maintenance).

In working to prevent the use of domestic radioactive sources in a terrorist attack, GTRI has successfully completed the following:

  • As of May, 2014, GTRI has completed security enhancements at more than 650 buildings in the United States which contain high-activity radiological sources; and
  • As of May, 2014 installed GTRI-developed in-device delay (IDD) security technology to more than 450 cesium irradiators in the United States.

Secured "Dirty Bomb" Material

GTRI has an ongoing domestic program, the Off-Site Source Recovery Program (OSRP), to recover excess and unwanted sources from Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State licensees because commercial disposition options do not exist for these high-activity sources.

  • As of May, 2014, GTRI has recovered more than 36,000 disused and unwanted sources containing hundreds of thousands of curies of activity.

Provided Security-Related Training

GTRI is providing Alarm Response Training (ART) to site security, local law enforcement officers and other first responders from across the country.

  • As of May, 2014, the GTRI has trained more than 3,000 first responders.