Nuclear Nonproliferation: Focusing on the Highest Priority Radiological Sources Could Improve DOE's Efforts to Secure Sources in Foreign Countries

GAO-07-580T Published: Mar 13, 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 posed a significant security threat to the United States and the international community. If certain types of these sources were obtained by terrorists, they could be used to produce a radiological dispersion device, or dirty bomb. In response, the Department of Energy (DOE) established the International Radiological Threat Reduction Program to identify, recover, and secure vulnerable, high-risk radiological sources. GAO was asked to (1) assess DOE's progress in securing sources in foreign countries, (2) identify DOE's current and planned program costs, and (3) determine the extent to which DOE has coordinated its efforts with other federal agencies and with international organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In January 2007, GAO issued a report--Nuclear Nonproliferation: DOE's International Radiological Threat Reduction Program Needs to Focus Future Efforts on Securing the Highest Priority Radiological Sources, (GAO-07-282)--that addressed these matters. To carry out its work, GAO reviewed DOE policies, plans and budgets; observed installed physical security upgrades; and interviewed senior DOE, Department of State (State), and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials.

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