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Title: Illicit Trafficking of Natural Radionuclides

Abstract

Natural radionuclides have been subject to trafficking worldwide, involving natural uranium ore (U 238), processed uranium (yellow cake), low enriched uranium (<20% U 235) or highly enriched uranium (>20% U 235), radium (Ra 226), polonium (Po 210), and natural thorium ore (Th 232). An important prerequisite to successful illicit trafficking activities is access to a suitable logistical infrastructure enabling an undercover shipment of radioactive materials and, in case of trafficking natural uranium or thorium ore, capable of transporting large volumes of material. Covert en route diversion of an authorised uranium transport, together with covert diversion of uranium concentrate from an operating or closed uranium mines or mills, are subject of case studies. Such cases, involving Israel, Iran, Pakistan and Libya, have been analyzed in terms of international actors involved and methods deployed. Using international incident data contained in the Database on Nuclear Smuggling, Theft and Orphan Radiation Sources (DSTO) and international experience gained from the fight against drug trafficking, a generic Trafficking Pathway Model (TPM) is developed for trafficking of natural radionuclides. The TPM covers the complete trafficking cycle, ranging from material diversion, covert material transport, material concealment, and all associated operational procedures. The model subdivides the trafficking cycle intomore » five phases: (1) Material diversion by insider(s) or initiation by outsider(s); (2) Covert transport; (3) Material brokerage; (4) Material sale; (5) Material delivery. An Action Plan is recommended, addressing the strengthening of the national infrastructure for material protection and accounting, development of higher standards of good governance, and needs for improving the control system deployed by customs, border guards and security forces.« less

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Div. of Physics and Biophysics, University of Salzburg Hellbrunnerstr. 34, A 5020 Salzburg (Austria)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21152493
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 1034; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: NRE-VIII: 8. International symposium on the natural radiation environment, Buzios, RJ (Brazil), 7-12 Oct 2007; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2991267; (c) 2008 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; ACCOUNTING; CONTROL SYSTEMS; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; MATHEMATICAL MODELS; NATURAL URANIUM; POLONIUM 210; RADIUM 226; RADON; SECURITY; THORIUM 232; THORIUM ORES; TRANSPORT; URANIUM 235; URANIUM 238; URANIUM CONCENTRATES; URANIUM MINES; URANIUM OXIDES U3O8

Citation Formats

Friedrich, Steinhaeusler, and Lyudmila, Zaitseva. Illicit Trafficking of Natural Radionuclides. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2991267.
Friedrich, Steinhaeusler, & Lyudmila, Zaitseva. Illicit Trafficking of Natural Radionuclides. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2991267.
Friedrich, Steinhaeusler, and Lyudmila, Zaitseva. 2008. "Illicit Trafficking of Natural Radionuclides". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2991267.
@article{osti_21152493,
title = {Illicit Trafficking of Natural Radionuclides},
author = {Friedrich, Steinhaeusler and Lyudmila, Zaitseva},
abstractNote = {Natural radionuclides have been subject to trafficking worldwide, involving natural uranium ore (U 238), processed uranium (yellow cake), low enriched uranium (<20% U 235) or highly enriched uranium (>20% U 235), radium (Ra 226), polonium (Po 210), and natural thorium ore (Th 232). An important prerequisite to successful illicit trafficking activities is access to a suitable logistical infrastructure enabling an undercover shipment of radioactive materials and, in case of trafficking natural uranium or thorium ore, capable of transporting large volumes of material. Covert en route diversion of an authorised uranium transport, together with covert diversion of uranium concentrate from an operating or closed uranium mines or mills, are subject of case studies. Such cases, involving Israel, Iran, Pakistan and Libya, have been analyzed in terms of international actors involved and methods deployed. Using international incident data contained in the Database on Nuclear Smuggling, Theft and Orphan Radiation Sources (DSTO) and international experience gained from the fight against drug trafficking, a generic Trafficking Pathway Model (TPM) is developed for trafficking of natural radionuclides. The TPM covers the complete trafficking cycle, ranging from material diversion, covert material transport, material concealment, and all associated operational procedures. The model subdivides the trafficking cycle into five phases: (1) Material diversion by insider(s) or initiation by outsider(s); (2) Covert transport; (3) Material brokerage; (4) Material sale; (5) Material delivery. An Action Plan is recommended, addressing the strengthening of the national infrastructure for material protection and accounting, development of higher standards of good governance, and needs for improving the control system deployed by customs, border guards and security forces.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2991267},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 1034,
place = {United States},
year = 2008,
month = 8
}
  • Theft, illegal possession, smuggling, or attempted unathorized sale of nuclear and radiological materials remains a worldwide problem. The Nuclear Smuggling International Technical Working Group (ITWG) has adopted a model action plan to guide investigation of these cases through a systematic approach to nuclear forensics. The model action plan was recently documented and provides recommendations concerning incident response, collection of evidence in conformance with required legal standards, laboratory sampling and distribution of samples, radioactive materials analysis, including categorization and characterization of samples, forensics analysis of conventional evidence, and case development including interpretation of forensic signatures.
  • Subcommittee 45B Radiation Protection Instrumentation of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is charged with the development of international standards for instrumentation used for monitoring of illicit trafficking of radioactive material through international boarders and territories, as well as inside countries. Currently three IEC standards are published. The international participation and the main characteristics of the following three standards are discussed and presented: IEC 62327 Hand-held Instruments for the Detection and Identification of Radionuclides and Additionally for the Indication of Ambient Dose Equivalent Rate from Photon Radiation , IEC 62401 Alarming Personal Radiation Devices for Detection of Illicit Trafficking of Radioactivemore » Material and IEC 62244 Installed Radiation Monitors for the Detection of Radioactive and Special Nuclear Materials at National Borders .« less
  • Concerns over the illicit trafficking of radiological and nuclear materials were focused originally on the lack of security and accountability of such material throughout the former Soviet states. This is primarily attributed to the frequency of events that have occurred involving the theft and trafficking of critical material components that could be used to construct a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) or even a rudimentary nuclear device. However, with the continued expansion of nuclear technology and the deployment of a global nuclear fuel cycle these materials have become increasingly prevalent, affording a more diverse inventory of dangerous materials and dual-use items.more » To further complicate the matter, the list of nuclear consumers has grown to include: (1) Nation-states that have gone beyond the IAEA agreed framework and additional protocols concerning multiple nuclear fuel cycles and processes that reuse the fuel through reprocessing to exploit technologies previously confined to the more industrialized world; (2) Terrorist organizations seeking to acquire nuclear and radiological material due to the potential devastation and psychological effect of their use; (3) Organized crime, which has discovered a lucrative market in trafficking of illicit material to international actors and/or countries; and (4) Amateur smugglers trying to feed their families in a post-Soviet era. An initial look at trafficking trends of this type seems scattered and erratic, localized primarily to a select group of countries. This is not necessarily the case. The success with which other contraband has been smuggled throughout the world suggests that nuclear trafficking may be carried out with relative ease along the same routes by the same criminals or criminal organizations. Because of the inordinately high threat posed by terrorist or extremist groups acquiring the ingredients for unconventional weapons, it is necessary that illicit trafficking of these materials be better understood as to prepare for the sustained global development of the nuclear fuel cycle. Conversely, modeling and analyses of this activity must not be limited in their scope to loosely organized criminal smuggling, but address the problem as a commercial, industrial project for the covert development of nuclear technologies and unconventional weapon development.« less
  • This paper studies the state of stable and artificial radioactive isotopes of merury and zinc in natural waters of the arid zone of the USSR by radioactivity and radiochemical methods. Convergent results have been obtained for the dissolved forms of mercury and zinc in natural waters of the arid zone in a comparison of the results of radioactivation analysis and laboratory simulation using the radionuclides mercury-203 and zinc-65.