Nuclear Nonproliferation:

DOE's International Radiological Threat Reduction Program Needs to Focus Future Efforts on Securing the Highest Priority Radiological Sources

GAO-07-282: Published: Jan 31, 2007. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2007.

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Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, U.S. and international experts raised concerns that unsecured radiological sources were vulnerable to theft and posed a significant security threat to the United States and the international community. Radioactive material is encapsulated or sealed in metal to prevent its dispersal and is commonly called a sealed radiological source. Sealed radiological sources are used worldwide for many legitimate purposes, such as medical, industrial, and agricultural applications. However, the total number of these sources in use worldwide is unknown because many countries do not systematically account for them. It is estimated that thousands of these sources have been lost, stolen, or abandoned--commonly referred to as orphan sources. If certain types of these sources were obtained by terrorists, they could be used to produce a simple and crude, but potentially dangerous, weapon--known as a radiological dispersion device, or dirty bomb. In 2001, a congressional report directed DOE to use a portion of its fiscal year 2002 supplemental appropriation to address the threat posed by dirty bombs. In response to the congressional requirement, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) established the Radiological Threat Reduction Task Force to identify, recover, and secure vulnerable, high-risk radiological sources, budgeting $20.6 million for the program in fiscal year 2002. The program initially focused on securing sources in the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) because DOE officials determined this region had the greatest number of vulnerable sources. In 2003, at the direction of the Secretary of Energy, DOE expanded the scope of the program to secure sealed sources worldwide, ultimately establishing the International Radiological Threat Reduction (IRTR) Program. The program's primary objective is to protect U.S. national security interests by (1) implementing rapid physical security upgrades at vulnerable sites containing radioactive sources; (2) locating, recovering, and consolidating lost or abandoned high-risk radioactive sources; and (3) supporting the development of the infrastructure necessary to sustain security enhancements and supporting regulatory controls, including the development of regional partnerships to leverage international resources. In addition, DOE has established a program to recover sealed sources produced and distributed in the United States, known as the U.S. Radiological Threat Reduction program. Part of this program's mission is to recover U.S.-origin sources on a case-by-case basis that were supplied by DOE to other countries under the Atoms for Peace program. The IRTR program is administered by NNSA with support from multiple national laboratories. The national laboratories' responsibilities include (1) assessing the physical security requirements of countries participating in the program, (2) recommending specific upgrades to strengthen radiological source security, and (3) ensuring that recommended upgrades are properly installed. In 2003, we issued a report at Congress' request focusing on U.S. and international efforts to secure sealed radiological sources. We recommended, among other things, that the Secretary of Energy take the lead in developing a comprehensive plan to strengthen controls over other countries' sealed sources. This report (1) assesses the progress the Department of Energy (DOE) has made in implementing its program to help other countries secure their sealed radiological sources, (2) identifies DOE's current and planned program costs, and (3) describes DOE's coordination with other U.S. agencies and international organizations to secure radiological sources in other countries.

DOE has improved the security of hundreds of sites that contain radiological sources in more than 40 countries since the program's inception in 2002. However, many of the highest-risk and most dangerous sources still remain unsecured, particularly in Russia. In 2003, when DOE decided to broaden the program's scope beyond the former Soviet Union, it also expanded the types of sites that required security upgrades. As a result, as of September 2006, almost 70 percent of all sites secured were medical facilities, which generally contain one radiological source. Several DOE and national laboratory officials with whom we spoke questioned the benefit of upgrading such a large number of medical facilities, while higher priority sites--such as waste storage facilities and Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs)--remained unsecured. In addition, DOE's program does not address the transportation of radiological sources from one location to another, a security measure that DOE and international officials have identified as the most vulnerable link in the radiological supply chain. DOE has experienced numerous problems and challenges implementing its program to secure radiological sources worldwide, including a lack of cooperation from some countries and access to sites with dangerous material. Furthermore, some high-risk countries have not given DOE permission to undertake security upgrades at all. Finally, DOE has not developed a plan to ensure that countries receiving security upgrades will be able to sustain them over the long term. From its inception in 2002 through August 31, 2006, DOE spent approximately $108 million to implement its program to secure radiological sources worldwide. A majority of the funds spent--$68 million--was to (1) conduct vulnerability assessments at a variety of sites containing radiological sources; (2) install physical security upgrades at these sites, such as hardened windows and doors, motion sensors and surveillance cameras; and (3) help countries draft laws and regulations to increase security and accounting of sources. In addition, DOE provided $13.5 million to IAEA to support activities to strengthen controls over radiological sources in IAEA member states. The remainder, or $26.5 million, paid for program planning activities such as developing program guidance documents, hiring private consultants, and conducting studies. To offset anticipated shortfalls in funding, DOE plans to obtain international contributions from other countries but efforts to date have produced limited results. DOE has improved coordination with the Department of State (State) and the Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRC) to secure radiological sources worldwide. Since we reported on this matter in 2003, DOE has involved State and NRC in its international radiological threat reduction activities more often and has increased information-sharing with the agencies. Additionally, DOE and NRC supported a State-led interagency effort to establish the Iraq Radioactive Source Regulatory Authority and develop a radiological regulatory infrastructure in Iraq. However, DOE has not always integrated its nuclear regulatory development efforts efficiently. In addition, DOE has not adequately coordinated the activities of multiple programs within the agency responsible for securing radiological and nuclear materials in other countries. DOE has generally improved coordination with IAEA to strengthen controls over other countries' radiological sources and has developed bilateral and multilateral partnerships with IAEA member states to improve their regulatory infrastructures. However, significant gaps in information-sharing between DOE and IAEA, and with the EC, have impeded DOE's ability to target the most vulnerable sites for security improvements and to avoid possible duplication of efforts.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matter for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: If the Congress believes that regulatory infrastructure development is the key to the long-term sustainability of radiological source security efforts, it may wish to consider providing NRC with authority and a direct appropriation to conduct these activities. The appropriation would be provided to NRC in lieu of providing the funds to DOE or another agency to reimburse NRC for its activities. Should the Congress decide to do so, NRC's efforts need to be fully coordinated with those of the Department of State, DOE, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In the Fiscal Year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161), the Congress provided NRC with a budget of $2,150,000 to support enhancing foreign regulators' programs to increase security over radioactive sources. According to an NRC official, this was done in response to GAO's matter for consideration and NRC's activities will be closely coordinated with DOE, State, and IAEA.

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: Finally, in an effort to improve coordination, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, should work with IAEA and European Commission officials to consider ways to systematically improve information sharing to maximize and leverage resources and institutional expertise.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to DOE, since June 2006, DOE and the Department of State have been working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and representatives of seven other key donor states to IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund to establish a mechanism for each of the parties to report to the other members a summary of all projects undertaken to secure nuclear and other radioactive materials around the world, whether conducted bilaterally, through the IAEA, or on a multilateral basis in partnership with other countries. DOE believes that this initiative will enhance cooperation and coordination of efforts among these major contributors to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund and the IAEA and will help eliminate duplication of efforts by the IAEA and its key donor states. DOE reported in April 2007 that it is also working with NRC through a series of senior-level coordination meetings.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should reevaluate program activities and eliminate those that do not directly contribute to securing the highest priority radiological sources in other countries.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In January 2007, we reported that since 2002, the Department of Energy (DOE) had upgraded the security of hundreds of sites in other countries that contain radiological sources through its Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). However, DOE had made limited progress securing many of the most dangerous sources located in waste storage facilities and hundreds of sources across Russia contained in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG). When DOE expanded the program from the former Soviet Union to a global effort, it also expanded the types of sites that required upgrades. As a result, as of September 2006, almost 70 percent of all sites secured were medical facilities, which generally contain one radiological source. We noted that instead of focusing increased attention on the highest priority threats, such as RTGs, DOE allocated significant program funding resources to securing medical facilities that, in our view, as well as several DOE officials associated with the program, pose considerably less threat to U.S. security interests. On March 13, 2007, the Assistant Deputy Administrator of NNSA testified that, subsequent to GAO's report, the agency had conducted a major reassessment of the GTRI program aimed at establishing new prioritization guidelines for securing and recovering vulnerable radioactive material around the world. On April 20, 2007, NNSA notified GAO that it had revised its threat criteria to better prioritize future efforts and eliminate program activities that do not directly contribute to securing the highest priority radiological sources in other countries. Specifically, NNSA will use the following factors in determining the highest-risk sites that need to be upgraded: (1) curie level of the specific radioactive source or sources at the site, (2) known terrorist threat in the country region, (3) current level of security at the site, and (4) the proximity of the site to potential strategic targets of U.S. interest.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should reevaluate program activities and eliminate those that do not directly contribute to securing the highest priority radiological sources in other countries.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In January 2007, we reported that since 2002, the Department of Energy (DOE) had upgraded the security of hundreds of sites in other countries that contain radiological sources through its Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). However, DOE had made limited progress securing many of the most dangerous sources located in waste storage facilities and hundreds of sources across Russia contained in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG). When DOE expanded the program from the former Soviet Union to a global effort, it also expanded the types of sites that required upgrades. As a result, as of September 2006, almost 70 percent of all sites secured were medical facilities, which generally contain one radiological source. We noted that instead of focusing increased attention on the highest priority threats, such as RTGs, DOE allocated significant program funding resources to securing medical facilities that, in our view, as well as several DOE officials associated with the program, pose considerably less threat to U.S. security interests. On March 13, 2007, the Assistant Deputy Administrator of NNSA testified that, subsequent to GAO's report, the agency had conducted a major reassessment of the GTRI program aimed at establishing new prioritization guidelines for securing and recovering vulnerable radioactive material around the world. On April 20, 2007, NNSA notified GAO that it had revised its threat criteria to better prioritize future efforts and eliminate program activities that do not directly contribute to securing the highest priority radiological sources in other countries. Specifically, NNSA will use the following factors in determining the highest-risk sites that need to be upgraded: (1) curie level of the specific radioactive source or sources at the site, (2) known terrorist threat in the country region, (3) current level of security at the site, and (4) the proximity of the site to potential strategic targets of U.S. interest.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should develop a long-term sustainability plan for security upgrades that includes, among other things, future resources required to implement such a plan.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 2007, DOE/NNSA published an updated Protection and Sustainability Criteria, internal guidance which addresses the issue of sustainability. This guidance looks at responsibilities in promoting sustainability of upgrades abroad at both the site and national levels. With regard to site-level operations, GTRI cooperates closely with the site officials and uses the contracting process to ensure that (1) site officials are aware of the magnitude of the threat and willing to make a commitment in time, attention and resources (human and financial) to address the threat; (2) security system procedures are developed, undertaken, and followed by site management and personnel; (3) high quality spare parts, repair services, and calibration capabilities are easily and quickly available at a reasonable price; (4) performance testing is conducted and an internal oversight program is in place; and (5) site personnel are aware of their roles and responsibilities and they receive support to properly operate security equipment and follow security procedures. According to NNSA, for national level long-term sustainability, GTRI and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) coordinate activities to ensure that (1) host country officials are aware of the magnitude of the threat and willing to make a commitment in time, attention and resources (human and financial) to address the threat; (2) a legal basis establishes a regulatory oversight body with a mandate to set and enforce security along with performance parameters including laws, regulations and guidelines; (3) a national accounting/tracking system establishes national scope, priorities and control over all nuclear and radiological materials; (4) inspectors monitor day-to-day activities to ensure legal requirements are met and systems are operating as designed through inspections, licensing and monitoring; and (5) adequate off-site response to alarms through alert and notify strategy to intercept and defeat adversary. In addition, GTRI is using the new Protection and Sustainability Criteria to develop a Future Resources Plan in order to fully implement the long-term sustainability plan recommended by GAO.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should develop a long-term sustainability plan for security upgrades that includes, among other things, future resources required to implement such a plan.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 2007, NNSA published an updated Protection and Sustainability Criteria, internal guidance which addresses the issue of sustainability. This guidance looks at responsibilities in promoting sustainability of upgrades abroad at both the site and national levels. With regard to site-level operations, GTRI cooperates closely with the site officials and uses the contracting process to ensure that (1) site officials are aware of the magnitude of the threat and willing to make a commitment in time, attention and resources (human and financial) to address the threat; (2) security system procedures are developed, undertaken and followed by site management and personnel; (3) high quality spare parts, repair services and calibration capabilities are easily and quickly available at a reasonable price; (4) performance testing is conducted and an internal oversight program is in place; and (5) site personnel are aware of their roles and responsibilities and they receive support to properly operate security equipment and follow security procedures. According to NNSA, for national level long-term sustainability, GTRI and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) coordinate activities to ensure that (1) host country officials are aware of the magnitude of the threat and willing to make a commitment in time, attention and resources (human and financial) to address the threat; (2) a legal basis establishes a regulatory oversight body with a mandate to set and enforce security along with performance parameters including laws, regulations and guidelines; (3) a national accounting/tracking system establishes national scope, priorities and control over all nuclear and radiological materials; (4) inspectors monitor day-to-day activities to ensure legal requirements are met and systems are operating as designed through inspections, licensing and monitoring; and (5) adequate off-site response to alarms through alert and notify strategy to intercept and defeat adversary. In addition, GTRI is using the new Protection and Sustainability Criteria to develop a Future Resources Plan in order to fully implement the long-term sustainability plan recommended by GAO.

    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE's program focuses on securing the highest priority radiological sources and sites, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should, to the extent possible, accelerate efforts to remove as many RTGs in Russia and, as an interim measure, improve the security of those remaining until they can be removed from service.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 20, 2007, DOE/NNSA notified GAO that it agreed with our recommendation and had revised its threat criteria to better prioritize future efforts. Specifically, NNSA will use the following factors in determining the highest-risk sites that need to be upgraded: (1) curie level of the specific radioactive source or sources at the site, (2) known terrorist threat in the country region, (3) current level of security at the site, and (4) the proximity of the site to potential strategic targets of U.S. interest. In addition, the government of Canada contributed about $2.2 million in fiscal year 2008 to further DOE/NNSA's work in securing RTGs in Russia.

    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE's program focuses on securing the highest priority radiological sources and sites, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should, to the extent possible, accelerate efforts to remove as many RTGs in Russia and, as an interim measure, improve the security of those remaining until they can be removed from service.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 20, 2007, DOE/NNSA notified GAO that it agreed with our recommendation and had revised its threat criteria to better prioritize future efforts. Specifically, NNSA will use the following factors in determining the highest-risk sites that need to be upgraded: (1) curie level of the specific radioactive source or sources at the site, (2) known terrorist threat in the country region, (3) current level of security at the site, and (4) the proximity of the site to potential strategic targets of U.S. interest. In addition, the government of Canada contributed about $2.2 million in fiscal year 2008 to further DOE/NNSA's work in securing RTGs in Russia.

    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE's program focuses on securing the highest priority radiological sources and sites, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should limit the number of hospitals and clinics containing radiological sources that receive security upgrades to only those deemed as the highest-risk.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 20, 2007, DOE/NNSA notified GAO that it agreed with our recommendation and had revised its threat criteria to better prioritize future efforts. Specifically, NNSA will use the following factors in determining the highest-risk sites that need to be upgraded: (1) curie level of the specific radioactive source or sources at the site, (2) known terrorist threat in the country region, (3) current level of security at the site, and (4) the proximity of the site to potential strategic targets of U.S. interest.

    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE's program focuses on securing the highest priority radiological sources and sites, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should limit the number of hospitals and clinics containing radiological sources that receive security upgrades to only those deemed as the highest-risk.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 20, 2007, DOE/NNSA notified GAO that it agreed with our recommendation and had revised its threat criteria to better prioritize future efforts. Specifically, NNSA will use the following factors in determining the highest-risk sites that need to be upgraded: (1) curie level of the specific radioactive source or sources at the site, (2) known terrorist threat in the country region, (3) current level of security at the site, and (4) the proximity of the site to potential strategic targets of U.S. interest.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should conduct an analysis to determine the projected costs associated with increased security upgrades in light of newly proposed threat protection criteria and limit the number sites to receive increased security upgrades until such an analysis has been completed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On December 31, 2007, DOE/NNSA informed GAO that in July 2007, GTRI published an updated Protection and Sustainability Criteria, internal guidance which addresses the issue of sustainability. This guidance looks at responsibilities in promoting sustainability of upgrades abroad at both the site and national levels. GTRI has also developed projected unit costs per facility type to reflect the new projected costs associated with implementing the new protection criteria. GTRI's new Protection and Sustainability Criteria showed that the previous methodology significantly underestimated the sustainability costs. For example, under the revised methodology the projected cost of radiological site upgrades increased by 92 percent ($92,000 to $177,000) and nuclear site upgrades increased by 49 percent ($215,000 to $320,000) over the previous strategy. According to NNSA, a detailed breakdown for each facility type has also been created.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should conduct an analysis to determine the projected costs associated with increased security upgrades in light of newly proposed threat protection criteria and limit the number sites to receive increased security upgrades until such an analysis has been completed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On December 31, 2007, DOE/NNSA informed GAO that in July 2007, GTRI published an updated Protection and Sustainability Criteria, internal guidance which addresses the issue of sustainability. This guidance looks at responsibilities in promoting sustainability of upgrades abroad at both the site and national levels. GTRI has also developed projected unit costs per facility type to reflect the new projected costs associated with implementing the new protection criteria. GTRI's new Protection and Sustainability Criteria showed that the previous methodology significantly underestimated the sustainability costs. For example, under the revised methodology the projected cost of radiological site upgrades increased by 92 percent ($92,000 to $177,000) and nuclear site upgrades increased by 49 percent ($215,000 to $320,000) over the previous strategy. According to NNSA, a detailed breakdown for each facility type has also been created.

    Recommendation: Finally, in an effort to improve coordination, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, should work with IAEA and European Commission officials to consider ways to systematically improve information sharing to maximize and leverage resources and institutional expertise.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to DOE, since June 2006, DOE and the Department of State have been working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and representatives of seven other key donor states to IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund to establish a mechanism for each of the parties to report to the other members a summary of all projects undertaken to secure nuclear and other radioactive materials around the world, whether conducted bilaterally, through the IAEA, or on a multilateral basis in partnership with other countries. DOE believes that this initiative will enhance cooperation and coordination of efforts among these major contributors to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund and the IAEA and will help eliminate duplication of efforts by the IAEA and its key donor states. DOE reported in April 2007 that it is also working with NRC through a series of senior-level coordination meetings.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should develop strategies to encourage cost sharing with recipient countries, including Russia and EU accession countries.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE/NNSA agreed with our recommendation and sought additional funding from foreign donors to supplement the GTRI annual budget appropriations process. For example, NNSA received $1,738,000 from the government of Canada in April 2007 to augment work currently being done to secure and remove Russian RTGs by NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative (fiscal year 2007 savings taken in accomplishment GAO-08-775A). On January 22, 2009, the government of Canada announced that it will contribute an additional $10 million toward U.S. efforts to detect and secure dangerous nuclear and radiological materials in Russia and Ukraine (fiscal year 2009 savings taken in GAO-09-1082A). In addition to direct GTRI international contributions, NNSA coordinates with international partners to cost-share critical threat reduction efforts and is working with the Department of State and the G-8 Global Partnership to identify additional avenues for cost-sharing.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should develop strategies to encourage cost sharing with recipient countries, including Russia and EU accession countries.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE/NNSA agreed with our recommendation and sought additional funding from foreign donors to supplement the GTRI annual budget appropriations process. For example, NNSA received $1,738,000 from the government of Canada in April 2007 to augment work currently being done to secure and remove Russian RTGs by NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative (fiscal year 2007 savings taken in accomplishment GAO-08-775A). On January 22, 2009, the government of Canada announced that it will contribute an additional $10 million toward U.S. efforts to detect and secure dangerous nuclear and radiological materials in Russia and Ukraine (fiscal year 2009 savings taken in GAO-09-1082A). In addition to direct GTRI international contributions, NNSA coordinates with international partners to cost-share critical threat reduction efforts and is working with the Department of State and the G-8 Global Partnership to identify additional avenues for cost-sharing.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should seek assurances from recipient countries that plans are in place to maintain security-related equipment and facilities funded by the United States.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, DOE/NNSA established a systematic plan with commensurate implementation mechanisms, to ensure that recipient countries develop their own plans for maintaining security related equipment and facilities funded by the United States. The DOE/NNSA plan of action is included in the the Global Threat Reduction Initiative's Protection and Sustainability Criteria, dated February 2010. DOE/NNSA's Director/North and South America Threat Reduction program, stated in June 2011 that the GAO recommendation on this issue was central to the creation of the action plan.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should seek assurances from recipient countries that plans are in place to maintain security-related equipment and facilities funded by the United States.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, DOE/NNSA developed an action plan to ensure that recipient countries establish their own plans to maintain security-related equipment and facilities funded by the United States. This action plan is contained in DOE/NNSA's Global Threat Reduction and Sustainability Criteria, dated February 2010. DOE/NNSA's Director, North and South America Threat Reduction said in June 2011 that GAO's recommendation spurred the development of the action plan.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should apply a more rigorous approach to foreign contractor selection to help reduce potential project delays in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In February 2010, DOE/NNSA's Office of Global Threat Reduction issued its protection and sustainability criteria document. As part of the sustainability/protection criteria, DOE/NNSA is expected to use due diligence in selection of foreign contractors to reduce potential project delays. According to the DOE/NNSA Director for North and South American Threat Reduction, the protection and sustainability criteria were developed and finalized based on our 2007 recommendation.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should apply a more rigorous approach to foreign contractor selection to help reduce potential project delays in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In February 2010, DOE/NNSA's Office of Global Threat Reduction issued its protection and sustainability criteria document. As part of the sustainability/protection criteria, DOE/NNSA is expected to use due diligence in selection of foreign contractors to reduce potential project delays. According to the DOE/NNSA Director for North and South American Threat Reduction, the protection and sustainability criteria were developed and finalized based on our 2007 recommendation.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should establish meaningful performance measurements that demonstrate real risk reduction and go beyond a quantitative listing of the number countries and sites that have received physical security upgrades.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 20, 2007, DOE/NNSA informed GAO that it had implemented this recommendation by revising the performance metrics for its Global Threat Reduction Initiative's (GTRI) International Radiological Threat Reduction program by adding the following measures of risk reduction: (1) type of radioactive source secured, (2) the type of facility, (3) specific curie level of the radioactive source secured (including an estimate of how many radiological dispersion devices (RDDs) could be made from the particular source), (4) terrorist threat in the country/region, (5) current level of security at the site, and (6) the proximity of the site in relationship to potential strategic targets of U.S. interest.

    Recommendation: To improve program management, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration should establish meaningful performance measurements that demonstrate real risk reduction and go beyond a quantitative listing of the number countries and sites that have received physical security upgrades.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 20, 2007, DOE/NNSA informed GAO that it had implemented this recommendation by revising the performance metrics for its Global Threat Reduction Initiative's (GTRI) International Radiological Threat Reduction program by adding the following measures of risk reduction: (1) type of radioactive source secured, (2) the type of facility, (3) specific curie level of the radioactive source secured (including an estimate of how many radiological dispersion devices (RDDs) could be made from the particular source), (4) terrorist threat in the country/region, (5) current level of security at the site, and (6) the proximity of the site in relationship to potential strategic targets of U.S. interest.

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