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NUCLEAR TERRORISM THREATS AND RESPONSES

Cristina Hansell,

James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies,

Monterey Institute of International Studies


Concerns about nuclear terrorism have risen substantially over the past five years. However, while world leaders have consistently mentioned these concerns both at home and in international fora, there appears to be no common understanding of “nuclear terrorism”—the term is applied to threats ranging from sabotage of a nuclear facility that may or may not result in a release of radiation, to use of a radiological dispersal device, to use of a true nuclear device (producing explosive energy through nuclear fission reactions). This paper begins with a brief overview of U.S. and Russian statements related to the threat of nuclear terrorism, in order to show that the understanding of this threat diverges. It then focuses on expert assessments of the possibility of non-state actors constructing a nuclear device. Finally, it turns to current actions that address this latter threat, and what remains to be done today, as well as the possible changes in this threat in future years.

OFFICIAL VIEWS OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM IN THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA

Official U.S. statements tend to refer to “Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) terrorism,” without clearly breaking down the risks of each type of threat. As far as nuclear terrorism is concerned, official statements mainly focus on the threat of terrorist use of a radiological dispersal device or of an improvised nuclear device,190 with the former seen as more likely. Sabotage of nuclear facilities is mentioned less often. The unclassified version of the most recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (July 2007) indicates that al-Qa’ida will remain the most serious threat to the United States and that the group will continue attempts to acquire and deploy unconventional weapons: “We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks and would not hesitate to use them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability.”191 This general

190

The definition of an “improvised nuclear device” used by the U.S. Department of Energy is: “a device, incorporating fissile materials, designed or constructed outside of an official Government agency and which has, appears to have, or is claimed to have the capability to produce a nuclear explosion.” DOE Order 457.1, approved February 7, 2006, available at http://www.directives.doe.gov/pdfs/doe/doetext/neword/457/o4571.pdf; accessed May 1, 2008.

191

National Intelligence Estimate: The Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland, available at http://dni.gov/press_releases/20070717_release.pdf; accessed May 1, 2008.



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NUCLEAR TERRORISM THREATS AND RESPONSES Cristina Hansell, James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies Concerns about nuclear terrorism have risen substantially over the past five years. However, while world leaders have consistently mentioned these concerns both at home and in international fora, there appears to be no common understanding of “nuclear terrorism”—the term is applied to threats ranging from sabotage of a nuclear facility that may or may not result in a release of radiation, to use of a radiological dispersal device, to use of a true nuclear device (producing explosive energy through nuclear fission reactions). This paper begins with a brief overview of U.S. and Russian statements related to the threat of nuclear terrorism, in order to show that the understanding of this threat diverges. It then focuses on expert assessments of the possibility of non-state actors constructing a nuclear device. Finally, it turns to current actions that address this latter threat, and what remains to be done today, as well as the possible changes in this threat in future years. OFFICIAL VIEWS OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM IN THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA Official U.S. statements tend to refer to “Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) terrorism,” without clearly breaking down the risks of each type of threat. As far as nuclear terrorism is concerned, official statements mainly focus on the threat of terrorist use of a radiological dispersal device or of an improvised nuclear device,190 with the former seen as more likely. Sabotage of nuclear facilities is mentioned less often. The unclassified version of the most recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (July 2007) indicates that al-Qa’ida will remain the most serious threat to the United States and that the group will continue attempts to acquire and deploy unconventional weapons: “We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks and would not hesitate to use them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability.”191 This general 190 The definition of an “improvised nuclear device” used by the U.S. Department of Energy is: “a device, incorporating fissile materials, designed or constructed outside of an official Government agency and which has, appears to have, or is claimed to have the capability to produce a nuclear explosion.” DOE Order 457.1, approved February 7, 2006, available at http://www.directives.doe.gov/pdfs/doe/doetext/neword/457/o4571.pdf; accessed May 1, 2008. 191 National Intelligence Estimate: The Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland, available at http://dni.gov/press_releases/20070717_release.pdf; accessed May 1, 2008. 153

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assessment, including nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and radiological threats together (though possibly not including sabotage) is echoed in the October 2007 National Strategy for Homeland Security,192 while the September 2006 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism calls for “deny[ing] terrorists access to the materials, expertise, and other enabling capabilities required to develop WMD,” mentioning in particular weapons-usable fissile materials—a fact that points to construction of a nuclear explosive, not a radiological device, as the greatest concern.193 Like in the United States, there is a great deal of official concern in Russia about the possibility of nuclear terrorism. However, over the past few years the threat of sabotage to nuclear facilities and radiological terrorism appears to have been seen as more of a threat than that of a nuclear device, in contrast to the U.S. view. For example, Russia’s 2006 White Paper on non-proliferation states that “although the probability of independent production of nuclear explosive devices by terrorists is low, given its technical complexity, it is possible that terrorists might develop primitive weapons using radioactive materials (so-called ‘dirty bombs’).”194 Further, the White Paper explains that the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism—a Russian initiative—is “designed to ensure the protection of both civilian and military nuclear facilities against terrorists.”195 It should be noted, however, that neither Russia nor the United States are a monolith. Stances on the threat vary from agency to agency and official to official. This naturally affects views of what must be done to alleviate the threat. In order to better understand the expert opinions that are informing policymaker stances, I now turn to assessments of the possibility of non-state actors constructing a nuclear device. CONSTRUCTION OF AN IMPROVISED NUCLEAR DEVICE BY NON-STATE ACTORS: EXPERT ASSESSMENTS Although no serious terrorist attempts to construct an improvised nuclear device (IND) have yet been uncovered, terrorism experts cite increasing indications of terrorist groups desiring to create and use such devices.196 This is a distinct change from a decade ago, when there appeared to be little demand for such a capability, making the technical possibility of creating such a device a moot question.197 Today, however, a very few groups, generally associated with 192 National Strategy for Homeland Security, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/homeland/nshs/2007/index.html, accessed May 1, 2008. 193 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nsct/2006/sectionV.html. 194 The Russian Federation and Nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Delivery Systems: Threats, Assessments, Problems and Solutions, English translation by Cristina Chuen, available at http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/other/rusfed.htm; accessed May 1, 2008. 195 Ibid. 196 For a brief history of terrorist attacks and insightful assessment of terrorist trends, predicting that terrorist groups are more likely to seek weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the future than they were in the past, see Richard Falkenrath, “Confronting Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Terrorism,” Survival, V. 40, N. 3, Autumn 1998, pp. 42-65. 197 For an interesting overview of early al-Qa’ida efforts in the nuclear sphere, see David Albright, “Al Qaeda’s Nuclear Program: Through the Window of Seized Documents,” available at http://www.nautilus.org/archives/fora/Special-Policy-Forum/47_Albright.html; accessed May 1, 2008. 154

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al-Qa’ida, have voiced this desire, though it is not clear how determined they have been at acquiring the capability. The trends are not encouraging, however: terrorists appear to be seeking ever-increasing levels of destruction in order to increase the impact of each new attack. In addition, increasing ties have been observed between these groups and elements in states that might be able to help the terrorists achieve their goals. Even without state assistance, U.S. nuclear weapons experts agree that some terrorist groups would be technically capable of constructing a primitive nuclear device, if they were able to obtain the necessary fissile materials. Former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Siegfried Hecker, has noted that some Russian weapons experts agree that from a technical point of view the construction of the simplest type of first-generation nuclear device is within the capabilities of certain non-state actors.198 In examining the steps for terrorist acquisition of such a device, experts from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have noted that the key difficulty facing such an endeavor is obtaining “access to special nuclear material” – highly enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium.199 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stated that its experts do not believe that terrorists can enrich uranium or breed plutonium. Therefore, DHS avers that the only way a terrorist could access this material is by theft from a fuel cycle facility, purchase on the black market, or transfer from a state sponsor.200 An additional possible pathway to obtain HEU suggested by a Russian study is the re-enrichment of low-enriched uranium. While this runs contrary to the U.S. view that terrorists do not have access to enrichment technology, re- enrichment might be a risk if non-state actors receive assistance from someone with access to a state program. The Kurchatov Institute study of the risks of the proliferation of various nuclear materials concluded that the risks posed by low-enriched uranium (LEU) exceeded those of HEU by a factor of 39.201 While the underlying assumptions behind this estimate are not made public, it appears that they were assuming that those stealing the nuclear materials had access to enrichment capabilities. It is probable that the study was focusing on proliferation to state actors, not terrorists. While even states have had difficulty creating enrichment capabilities, they clearly have a better chance of doing so than non-state actors at present. A gun-type device is easier to construct than a nuclear implosive device.202 Since a gun- type bomb that employed HEU would have a yield of 10-15 kilotons, while a similar plutonium- based gun-type device would result in a “fizzle yield” of 10-20 tons, preventing terrorist 198 Siegfried Hecker, comment made during his presentation of “Toward a comprehensive safeguards system: Keeping fissile materials out of the terrorists’ hands.” Pir Center Conference on G8 Global Security Agenda: Challenges and Interests Toward the St. Petersburg Summit, Moscow, April 22, 2006. 199 See K. Todd Wilber (National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Emergency Response), “Overview of Radiological/Nuclear Devices and Response,” available at http://www.nlectc.org/training/nij2003/Wilber1.pdf; accessed May 1, 2008. 200 “Nuclear Smuggling,” Department of Homeland Security Nuclear Assessment Program, available at http://www.exportcontrol.org/library/conferences/1379/005_Proliferation_Threat_Brief-Nuclear_Smuggling_- _Zachary_K.pdf; accessed May 1, 2008. 201 See Nikolai Ponomarev-Stepnoi, “Stsenarii razvitiia atomnoi energetiki Rossii v XXI veke” (Scenarios for the Development of Atomic Energy in Russia in the 21st Century), Biulleten’ po atomnoi energii, December 2001, p. 7. 202 This view is widely held by U.S. experts. Sergey Pertsev, Head of the 12th Central Scientific Research Institute of the Russian Defense Ministry has agreed with this view; conversation with author, October 4, 2007, Moscow. It should be noted that a crude gun-type device would not likely result in an efficient use of the nuclear material, but would create a nuclear yield. 155

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acquisition of this material is particularly critical.203 Unless technological advances, which are not currently foreseen, should put enrichment capabilities within the reach of non-state actors, this implies securing HEU should be the top priority. The other aspects of constructing a nuclear device—the design and engineering aspects—despite their complexity, can be solved by sophisticated terrorist groups. The Department Homeland Security notes that information on gun-type and implosion-type designs is publicly available, though misinformation is as well. While enriching uranium is very difficult, both from a technical and—especially—from an engineering standpoint, U.S. experts do not view transforming civilian-use HEU materials into the metal needed for an IND as overly difficult, given adequate knowledge of chemical metallurgy (post-graduate chemistry studies appear to be viewed as sufficient). Further, other than the uranium material itself, additional necessary materials are fairly readily available. As one Argonne scientist put it, “it’s only a matter of chemistry and time.”204 In the civilian sphere, HEU is used both as research reactor fuel and as targets for medical isotope production. In the case of the latter, the U235 content in irradiated targets is typically still above 90 percent, due to their relatively low burn up, while the spent target material can be contact handled after a fairly short period of time due to the minimal amount of long-lived fission products in this material. A recent study indicated that after three years of storage, the dose a terrorist would receive from handling the material would be just 13-37 mrem/hour per gram (depending on the processing), while 5-8 million mrem are required to cause immediate disorientation.205 (It should be noted that it would not be necessary to handle more than 25 grams or so at a time, and after processing the material would be even less radioactive.) While U.S. experts concur with their Russian counterparts in the assessment that the risk of a radiological attack is far greater than that of the use of an IND, the consequences of an IND are so much greater that this latter risk remains an important U.S. concern. It is not clear whether the Russian view of this risk is different, or whether it is risk tolerance in Russia that is actually the driver behind the different level of concern focused at this threat. Nor have U.S. experts ignored the possibility of sabotage of a nuclear facility. The DHS Nuclear Assessment Program concerns include reactor attacks, as well as illegal dumping and scams, noting that scams too can pose health and safety risks, as well as waste and/or divert time and effort from more significant threats or enlarge search areas.206 However, DHS concludes that radiological devices would create panic, but are not weapons of mass destruction, while it views a nuclear attack as “a real possibility,” noting that “there are no insurmountable technical barriers to designing and building an IND.”207 203 Stanislav Rodionov, “Could Terrorists Produce Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons?” High-Impact Terrorism: Proceedings of a Russian-American Workshop (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002), pp. 156-159. 204 Interview of Argonne National Laboratory nuclear fuel specialist by author, April 2007. 205 George Vandegrift and Edward Fei, “Mo-99 Production Using LEU,” presented at the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management Annual Meeting, Tucson, Arizona, July 2007. 206 Ibid. 207 Ibid. 156

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CURRENT ACTIONS TO REDUCE THE IMPROVISED NUCLEAR DEVICE THREAT The U.S. and Russian governments are both party to a variety of international agreements that address the threat of nuclear terrorism, several of which are or could be used to reduce the threat of terrorist acquisition of an IND. In addition, both countries have improved physical security of nuclear sites, though more could be done. The United States has also committed to the minimization of the use of HEU in the civilian sector, promising to convert all civilian research reactors to LEU by 2014, while Russia has been involved in converting Soviet-supplied research reactors abroad and repatriating Soviet-supplied HEU (though there is no similar program in Russia to convert reactors and consolidate and secure HEU). One of the first international actions came at the Moscow Nuclear Safety and Security Summit in 1996, when a program was announced “on preventing and combating illicit trafficking in nuclear material to ensure increased cooperation among our governments in all aspects of prevention, detection, exchange of information, investigation and prosecution in cases of illicit nuclear trafficking.”208 There have been many additional agreements since, which have publicly committed Russia and the United States to sharing intelligence on illicit trafficking incidents.209 However, the exchange of information in cases involving nuclear and radiological materials remains inadequate, both bilaterally and with international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism,210 sponsored by Russia, is another tool that could be used to reduce IND risks. In its explanatory note on the draft convention, Russia noted that the 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material had substantial gaps when it came to countering acts of nuclear terrorism, both at the stage of stopping the terrorist act and in eliminating its consequences. The nuclear terrorism convention requires parties to take all practible measures to prevent and counter preparations for nuclear terrorist attacks, though these are neither defined nor prioritized.211 Another recent initiative that may prove useful is the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, proposed by Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir V. Putin in July 2006. In the Joint Statement made at the June 2007 meeting on the initiative in Astana, they stated key priorities included “preventing the availability of nuclear material to terrorists; minimizing the use of highly enriched uranium and plutonium in civilian facilities and activities; [and] strengthening our response capabilities to minimize the impact of any nuclear terrorism 208 Moscow Nuclear Safety and Security Summit, further information available at http://www.g7.utoronto.ca/summit/1996moscow/declaration.html; accessed May 1, 2008. 209 In addition to joint statements, treaties, and commitments to international organizations such as the IAEA, the two countries established a Counterterrorism Working Group in 2000, one of the goals of which is to improve intelligence sharing. 210 The convention entered into force on July 7, 2007, and has been ratified by Russia but not yet by any other nuclear weapons state. The text of the Convention can be found at http://www.un.int/usa/a-59-766.pdf; and http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2007/webArticles/072407_nuclear_terrorism.htm; accessed May 1, 2008. 211 It should be noted that the Convention does not include a definition of terrorism, though it does indicate that sabotage of a nuclear facility, as well as the use of INDs or radiological devices are all considered nuclear terrorism. For further information on the Convention, see “International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism,” Inventory, available at http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/inven/pdfs/nucterr.pdf; accessed May 1, 2008. 157

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attack.”212 It should be pointed out, however, that the language on minimizing the use of HEU and plutonium was apparently proposed by DOE officials in the division working on reactor conversion and spent nuclear fuel return, and does not seem to have been vetted by those in either the United States or Russia that are concerned with future nuclear power plants. If they were, there would likely have been objections to including plutonium minimization. Nor is it clear that this statement can be taken as official Russian acceptance of a need to reduce HEU use, at least domestically. The international agreements noted above are just a few examples of the agreements, joint statements, and other international initiatives that exist in this sphere. However, it is not clear how the international agreements interact, thus gaps or overlaps are possible. Further, not enough has been done to implement the agreements domestically. Russia has improved its national legislation related to controlling nuclear energy, export controls, and other related areas dramatically over the past two decades, but continues to work on implementing regulations in some areas (in particular, physical protection might be noted). The United States has a more mature system, but has recently changed some measures to implement tighter security, due to assessments that threats have increased. In 2008, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission implemented new security rules for non-power reactors, which will likely mean significant cost increases. Indeed, the pulse reactor III at Sandia National Laboratory was shut down due to the costs of implementing new physical protection measures (the increase in physical protection costs at eight U.S. national laboratories since September 2001 have been estimated at $500 million per year).213 Security costs in other countries are also significant. The government of Saxony, Germany, reported security savings of $13 million a year after repatriation of HEU fuel from the reactor at Rossendorf back to Russia. Security costs must be paid every year, and are only likely to increase. While improving security is one way to minimize the risk of HEU theft, removing the material is likely to be the far more economical choice is most cases. A calculation of the risks, costs and benefits should be done for each facility, and clear regulations developed that are standardized worldwide, since each country is vulnerable to threats at other sites. The United States and Russia, like other countries, must then do everything possible to make legislation and regulations effective. Where nuclear trafficking is concerned, for example, convictions and sentences in accordance with strict laws requiring serious penalties are necessary if they are to have any impact on the terrorist threat. Furthermore, these sentences must be publicized to have the desired deterrent effect.214 FUTURE MEASURES, FUTURE THREATS As noted above, DOE and DHS experts do not believe that terrorists are capable of enriching uranium, the material needed to create the simplest type of nuclear device. While 212 For further information regarding the G8 Global Initiative to Counter Nuclear Terrorism, see http://www.g8.gc.ca/2002Kananaskis/gp_stat-en.pdf; accessed on April 6, 2008. See also, http://www.state.gov/t/us/rm/69124.htm; accessed May 1, 2008. 213 Estimate cited by Frank von Hippel, “HEU in Critical Assemblies, Pulsed Reactors and Propulsion Systems,” Technical Workshop on HEU Elimination, Oslo, June 17-18, 2006. 214 This is a problem both in Russia as well as in many other countries. For example, in the western European court cases related to the A.Q. Khan trafficking ring there have been suspended sentences when individuals were convicted at all. In South Africa, an individual was convicted but given no prison time. 158

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technological advances could make this capability more accessible in the future, this is not likely to happen anytime soon. Thus, at the present time securing HEU is the most effective way to prevent terrorists from creating such a device. Both Russia and the United States have made progress in reducing access to HEU, but more needs to be done.215 The Soviet Union recognized the need to reduce the accessibility of HEU when it decided to replace 80 percent enriched uranium in research reactors sold to other countries with 36 percent HEU back in the 1970s. Since that time, Russia has cooperated with the United States, other countries, and the IAEA to remove HEU from a variety of Soviet-built research reactors abroad, and developed the technologies to convert these reactors from HEU to LEU.216 However, consolidation of HEU within Russia and conversion of Russian research reactors is sorely needed. Thanks to the successes of the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors and fuel take-back programs, along with reactor shutdowns, the amount of HEU in civilian use has been significantly reduced over the past decades. An increasing percentage of the HEU holdings in civilian hands are in Russia, which has five of the top 20 civilian steady-state research reactors in terms of HEU consumption.217 Of the remaining 15, only one will continue to use HEU fuel for the foreseeable future (Germany’s FRM-II, which will be converted to use fuel with under 50 percent enrichment but cannot be converted to LEU using current technologies; it uses one 8 kg fuel rod).218 Current plans for the expansion of nuclear energy may well pose additional risks in terms of nuclear terrorism. One of the ways the international community is trying to improve the monitoring of new nuclear facilities is through the introduction of “safeguards by design” – incorporating the latest in enhanced safeguards technologies in facilities during the design stage, to enhance proliferation resistance and improve the efficacy of IAEA monitoring and verification of nuclear materials. It should be noted that new technologies can provide additional warning signs and more time for inspectors to detect irregularities, but are not a cure-all. The new technologies offer opportunities, but will only be meaningful if policymakers decide on widespread adoption, and IAEA activities are altered to take advantage of the extra time and information provided by the technologies. To date, however, the technology to build proliferation-resistant reactors is as yet unproven; moreover, it must be remembered that current programs like the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership are designing new reactors that are 215 The United States has increased requirements for the security of facilities with HEU. This is why the decision was made to shut down the pulsed reactor at Sandia National Lab and use computer simulations instead – to reduce security costs. Then U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham stated in 2004, “[A]fter operations of three years or perhaps less, the Sandia Pulsed Reactor will no longer be needed, since computer simulations will be able to assume its mission.… When its mission is complete, this reactor’s fuel will be removed from Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, allowing us to reduce security costs at Sandia and further consolidate our nuclear materials.” “Remarks Prepared for Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham for the Security Police Officer Training Competition,” May 7, 2004. 216 For further information, see Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return Program, available at http://www.nnsa.doe.gov/na-20/rrrfr.shtml; accessed May 1, 2008. For further information regarding the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors Program (RERTR), see http://www.rertr.anl.gov; accessed May 1, 2008. See also the paper by Philipp Bleek and Laura Holgate in this volume. 217 These reactors are the SM-3, MIR M1, WWR-TS, IVV-2M, and WWR-M. 218 Four of the top 20 reactors are in the United States—of these, the Missouri University Research Reactor is currently undergoing conversion, but the remaining three—the ATR (Idaho), HFIR (Oak Ridge), and NBSR (National Institute of Standards and Technology, Dept. of Commerce)—are awaiting the development and qualification of new LEU fuels. For further information on the RERTR Program, see http://www.rertr.anl.gov; accessed May 1, 2008. 159

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proliferation-resistant, not proliferation-proof, and the designs may not prove economically attractive to all global customers. It seems clear that before (and perhaps even when) these reactors become available, significant construction of current power reactor designs and related fuel cycle facilities will occur. This not only poses considerable materials, protection, control, and accounting challenges, but will require great efforts to handle the back end of the fuel cycle, and could dramatically increase sabotage risks.219 While these reactors are not likely to employ HEU, plans call for the increased use of MOX fuel. Further, the study of new reactor fuels has, to date, involved the use of both HEU and plutonium in critical facilities. While many of the measures that might be taken to reduce the risk of terrorist acquisition of an IND, from reducing the use of HEU and consolidating HEU holdings to improving physical protection and intelligence sharing, are generally known, there is as yet no consensus on precisely what such efforts should entail and how to prioritize them. An international understanding on prioritization may not be possible, if a common definition of nuclear terrorism cannot be found. However, even if Russia and the United States continue to have different views of the relative threat posed by the risk of sabotage, use of a radiological dispersal device, or use of an IND, they should still be able to work out a common understanding of how each of these threats should be tackled. In some areas, a domestic consensus on risks, threats, and measures is also necessary. Plans to develop proliferation-resistant reactors could potentially help to reduce the threat that terrorists acquire HEU. However, the sabotage threat requires measures to ensure that facilities can withstand a terrorist attack. While there has been a great deal of discussion of making certain that reactors can, for example, withstand an aircraft impact, there is as yet no common definition of standards for anti-terrorist measures or a full understanding of what the terrorist threat may entail. It should be noted that today, many nuclear reactors have containment vessels but spent fuel stores can not withstand attack—if radiation release is a concern, this sort of facility will have to be redesigned, as will requirements for future facilities. As noted above, there are three pathways for terrorists to acquire the fissile material needed for a nuclear device: theft from a fuel cycle facility, purchase on the black market, or transfer from a state sponsor. Measures that can be taken to block these pathways include: 1) eliminating HEU (the most certain way to prevent its acquisition by terrorists); 2) increasing security (including both technical measures and security culture at facilities); 3) improving intelligence sharing; and 4) increasing penalties for trafficking and related offenses, along with enforcement and publicity. As key users and suppliers of nuclear technology, Russia and the United States have a critical role to play in leading efforts to prevent terrorist use of an IND. At a Russian State Duma seminar on nuclear terrorism issues on September 27, 2007, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Safonov observed that while it is probably impossible to prevent all terrorist attacks, governments must at least be able to tell their publics that they can prevent nuclear terrorist attacks—and to do so must prevent access to WMD components.220 219 The Nuclear Energy Agency defines the stages of the fuel cycle as follows: “a) the so-called front-end which extends from the mining of uranium ore until the delivery of fabricated fuel elements to the reactor site; b) fuel use in the reactor, where fission energy is employed to produce electricity, and temporary storage at the reactor site; c) the so-called back-end, which starts with the shipping of spent fuel to away-from-reactor storage or to a reprocessing plant and ends with the final disposal of reprocessing Vitrified High-Level Waste or the encapsulated spent fuel itself.” For further information, see http://www.nea.fr/html/ndd/reports/efc/efc02.pdf; accessed April 6, 2008. 220 For more information on the international seminar on Countering Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism, hosted by the Russian State Duma Security Committee, see Cristina Hansell Chuen, “CNS Researcher Speaks on Nuclear 160

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This insightful statement goes to the heart of the matter: can we agree on the nature of the attack we seek to prevent, the measures that can potentially be taken to prevent it, and ways to prioritize and coordinate our preventive efforts? Terrorism at Russian Duma,” October 4, 2007, available at http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/week/071005.htm; accessed May 1, 2008. 161

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