Security of radioactive material while in transit requires special attention since the material is outside the control of well-protected facilities and must travel on public roads. The importance of transportation security for radioactive material is recognized internationally and is being addressed throughout the world including as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).
GTRI cooperates with individual countries to assist in determining their unique transportation security needs and establishing the most effective process for addressing their needs. In most cases, the process will include all or some of the following:
- Initial discussions and preparatory visit(s)
- Conduct transportation security assessments (national and operational)
- Provide seminars and workshops on transportation security
- Provide technical assistance
- Ensure sustainability
- Conduct assurances and follow-up assistance
Cooperative efforts, with individual countries and in partnership with other nations lead to the following outcomes:
- Increased awareness of the vulnerability of radioactive material in transit and the need for increased attention to transport security,
- Enhancement of transportation security through adoption of international recommendations and deployment of upgraded transportation security measures and equipment, and
- Cooperative efforts between government agencies and industry to address transport security.
Kazakhstan Update: The GTRI Program has been working closely with the Republic of Kazakhstan to address radioactive material transport security for the past four years. Those activities involved performing national-level assessments of radioactive material transportation, and prioritizing activities that will lead to enhancements to Kazakhstan’s transportation security capabilities. In August 2012, GTRI commissioned two heavy-duty transportation security vehicles at a ceremony held in Kurchatov, Kazakhstan. Acquisition of these two vehicles was made possible through a donation from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 2013, GTRI provided a transportation security awareness course for senior Kazakh government officials (June 2013) in Astana, and provided an additional week-long transportation security seminar in November 2013 in Almaty for several agencies that participate in radioactive material transportation. In 2014, GTRI, with a generous donation from the United Kingdom, is commissioning four new medium-duty secure radiological transportation vehicles. These four vehicles will be transferred, one each, to the following organizations: (1) Institute of Atomic Energy (IAE) – National Nuclear Center (NNC) at Kurchatov, (2) Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) at Almaty, Kazakhstan, (3) IZOTOP Transservice, Ltd. at Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, and (4) Mangistau Atomic Energy Complex (MAEC) at Atkau, Kazakhstan. Dedication of these four vehicles today represents the latest accomplishment under a partnership between NNSA, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Kazakhstan, and serves as an example of the cooperation between the three countries to prevent nuclear terrorism.