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NNSA Conducts Bilateral Technical Nuclear Forensics Exercise with the United Kingdom

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) and NNSA successfully tested the readiness of U.S. and U.K. laboratories to perform nuclear forensic analysis on collected material samples following the detonation of an improvised nuclear device over the U.K.
The test was conducted during Exercise Opal Tiger, which ran Oct. 3-28, and was part of a much larger National Technical Nuclear Forensics (NTNF) program that includes a number of federal departments and agencies. 

“The exercise enhanced collaboration in technical nuclear forensics between the U.S and U.K.,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. “Expanding international collaboration in nuclear forensics improves the ability of governments to identify the nature and source of interdicted or seized materials and weapons, as well as the source of a detonated weapon. I’m proud of the work of the men and women who were involved in the exercise.”

The U.S. effort, led by DOE and in partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is part of the U.S. Government NTNF program. This program includes the Departments of State and Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in addition to DOE/NNSA, DoD, and the FBI.

When combined with information from law enforcement investigations and intelligence channels, nuclear forensics conclusions support the identification of those responsible for planned or actual attacks. Importantly, effective international collaboration creates a stronger deterrent by increasing the likelihood that perpetrators are identified and held accountable.

This exercise is a part of NNSA’s commitment to assisting and working with the international community. NNSA currently collaborates with more than 80 foreign governments and 10 international organizations with projects ranging from providing assistance to foreign governments in improving their emergency preparedness and response programs, to joint collaborative activities to improve emergency management infrastructure worldwide.

For additional information see: NNSA’s Office of Emergency Operations

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.  NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.