NNSA and the European Commission (E.C.) recently met in Ispra, Italy, to review the status of collaborative efforts on nuclear nonproliferation currently underway between the NNSA and the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). This was the 6th Annual Joint Steering Committee (JSC) meeting under the 2010 Agreement for Nuclear Material Safeguards and Security Research and Development.
Reflecting the broad range of activities being undertaken, the JSC meeting included 30 participants from the EC and 16 participants from the United States. The EC participants represented five institutions located in four countries: EURATOM Safeguards in Luxembourg, JRC Headquarters in Belgium, and the JRC institutes in Karlsruhe, Germany; Ispra, Italy; and Geel, Belgium. Participants from the United States represented various offices within NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN) as well as Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory. Anne Harrington, NNSA’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, served as co-chair along with the Director General of the JRC, Vladimir Sucha.
After providing opening remarks during a plenary session on June 15, 2016, the JSC co-chairs heard reports from programs collaborating under the 2010 Agreement, signed into force three new collaborative projects, and toured several laboratories. Additionally, a delegation from the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Reactor Technologies John Kelly, held separate meetings and also participated in the plenary session. A number of technical sessions followed the plenary that brought together experts to review the progress of collaborative technical projects and discuss key issues in the areas of nuclear safeguards, border monitoring, export controls, and nuclear forensics.
Through the JSC meetings, the E.C. and U.S. continue to draw on each other’s expertise to further global nuclear nonproliferation goals. To date, the collaborative work conducted under the JSC has resulted in a number of recent measurable accomplishments, including: the design of nondestructive assay measurement systems used to verify operator declarations of fresh fuel assemblies; the testing of cutting-edge technical solutions to enhance security of safeguards data; improvements in safeguards analysis software used by Euratom and the International Atomic Energy Agency; improvements in software used for the surveillance of process operations; and an enhanced capability to identify and prevent illicit commerce in WMD-related commodities.