Andrew Bieniawski

Vice President, Material Security and Minimization

Andrew Bieniawski joined the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) as vice president for material security and minimization after 25 years of serving in senior-level positions with the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Bieniawski leads key NTI projects related to nuclear materials security and minimization, including the Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities, the IAEA/NTI Nuclear Fuel Bank and the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification. He is also an expert in radiological threat reduction.

From July 2012 until February 2014, Bieniawski served as the acting principal assistant deputy administrator for NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. In that position, he was responsible for overseeing a staff of more than 240 employees and an annual budget in excess of $2 billion.

From 2004 to 2012, Bieniawski led the U.S. government’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). Under his leadership, GTRI significantly accelerated efforts and removed more than 2,300 kilograms of dangerous highly enriched uranium and plutonium from vulnerable locations around the world – enough material for terrorists to make more than 80 nuclear weapons. During this time, Bieniawski provided direct oversight to ensure the safe and successful completion of 21 highly complex operations to remove vulnerable nuclear material in more than 15 countries, including Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Mexico and Hungary.

From 2001 to 2004, Bieniawski served simultaneously as the executive director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office in Moscow and as the senior U.S. Department of Energy official in Russia.  During this period, he worked internally within the U.S. Embassy and externally with senior Russian officials to expand the mission and role of the DOE Moscow Office.   

Upon his retirement from government service in June 2014, he received the DOE Distinguished Career Service Award and NNSA Gold Medal. 

Bieniawski has a bachelor's degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a master of arts in international relations from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. 


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Radioactive Background

Preventing a Dirty Bomb

Cesium-137 is an isotope used medical equipment such as blood irradiators. However, it is also the most dangerous of all radioactive isotopes. If used in a dirty bomb, the highly dispersible powder would contaminate an area for years, costing billions of dollars in evacuation, demolition and clean-up. NTI works with hospitals, industry and governments to raise awareness about this threat and the availability of safe and effective alternative technologies to cesium-137 blood irradiators.
The Vinca nuclear research reactor, where NTI acted to catalyze the removal of two and a half bombs’ worth of HEU.

HEU Minimization

NTI supports the phased elimination of civil uses for HEU and is working to build an international consensus on reducing dependence on HEU for peaceful activities.

International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification

A public-private partnership to build global capacity and increase understanding of future monitoring and verification challenges.
US-Russia Meeting

Dialogue on the Future of U.S.-Russia Nuclear Cooperation

NTI has partnered with the Russian Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) to launch a high-level dialogue on the future of US-Russia nuclear cooperation.
Blood Irradiator

Radiological Security Progress Report

The NTI Radiological Security Progress Report reviews progress that the 23 states have made in meeting their commitments in accordance with the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) Joint Statement on Enhancing Radiological Security.
Fuel Bank Signing

International IAEA LEU Bank

NTI, with advisor Warren Buffett’s backing, committed $50 million for an international bank for storing low-enriched uranium to address nuclear proliferation risks
Global Dialogue Meeting

Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities

An international, cross-sector dialogue among leading government officials, experts, nuclear security practitioners, and other stakeholders to help shape the Nuclear Security Summit process and strengthen global nuclear materials security.
Trident Submarine

Military Materials Security Study Group

An international study group working to develop recommendations to tighten control of the 83 percent of the global stockpile of weapons-usable nuclear materials categorized as "military" and not subject to any international security standards or oversight mechanisms.
Verification Pilot Project Group

Verification Pilot Project

The Verification Pilot Project is a collaborative effort led by NTI to unite experts from around the world to explore new approaches to verification that could prompt near-term progress on non-proliferation and nuclear security and enable future progress on arms reductions.