US Second Line of Defense: Preventing Nuclear Smuggling Across Russia's Borders   [open pdf - 82KB]

"Preventing the theft of weapons-usable highly enriched uranium and plutonium in Russia is one of the central security concerns facing the US today. The dissolution of the highly centralized USSR and the resulting societal crisis has endangered Russia's ability to protect its more than 200 metric tons of plutonium and 1000 tons of highly enriched uranium (roughly 8 kg Pu or 25 kg HEU is sufficient to make a bomb). Producing this fissile material is the most difficult and expensive part of nuclear weapons production and the US must make every effort to ensure that fissile material (and nuclear-related technologies) does not reach the hands of terrorist groups, rogue states or other potential proliferators. […]. This year the Department of Energy (DOE) initiated a new program called the Second Line of Defense (SLD), the goal of which is to assist Russia in preventing the smuggling of nuclear material and weapons at its borders, either by land, sea or air. The SLD program represents an important phase in the overall effort to ensure the security of nuclear material and weapons in Russia. However, as the US engages Russian customs officials in this important project, Americans should keep in mind that providing equipment--even indigenous equipment--is insufficient by itself; material aid must be accompanied by rigorous inspection and accounting procedures. In addition, the equipment must be assessed according to international standards to ensure a high degree of confidence in its nuclear detection capability."

Report Number:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information:http://www.osti.gov/
Media Type:
Program on New Approaches to Russian Security Workshop, Washington, DC (US), 12/04/1998
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