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Material Control & Accountability

Safeguards First Principles Initiative
NNSA undertook a Safeguards First Principles Initiative (SFPI) to develop a principle-based standard for Material Control and Accountability (MC&A) Programs. The objective of SFPI was to prepare a model/standard for developing, implementing, and evaluating MC&A Programs to be adopted NNSA-wide. The model/standard:

  • Establishes fundamental principles that the NNSA expects its management and operating contractors to develop and implement for their MC&A programs;
  • Supports standardized implementation of effective and efficient MC&A programs that are tailored to a well-characterized risk;
  • Facilitates implementation that is defensible from a risk management perspective with measurable performance; and
  • Provides a basis for designing MC&A Programs in the context of the nuclear material inventory holdings, operations, and missions at the site.


Under the SFPI Project, the contractor used the model/standard to develop an MC&A Plan and associated procedures documenting how the objectives in the model/standard will be achieved.  The MC&A Plan is reviewed and approved by the site office, using an established peer review process that draws upon MC&A resources across the NNSA complex.  The contractor MC&A Program is reviewed and evaluated based upon their performance to the approved MC&A Plan.

To demonstrate proof of principle for the SFPI approach, the NNSA conducted test bed applications of the model at two facilities beginning in December 2006 at the Nevada Test Site off site link and in January 2007 at portions of the Y-12 National Security Complex off site link.

Use of the SFPI model for development, implementation, and evaluation of MC&A programs provided significant benefits.  At Y-12, the facility experienced a significant increase in operational efficiency in gaining four additional operational work weeks per year and realizing a cost savings of $5.5M through 2010 while also increasing the effectiveness of the MC&A program in a single processing area.  The NTS test bed application achieved a modest cost savings ($8K) in 2007, but realized significant qualitative benefits from increased coordination and cooperation with operations and training of MC&A staff.

Given the success of the SFPI Project, the NNSA will continue phased implementation of SFPI at all NNSA facilities.