Obama Signs Nuclear Forensics Bill

U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday signed legislation intended to bolster U.S. technical expertise in the field of nuclear forensics and attribution as part of national efforts to deter acts of nuclear terrorism (see GSN, Dec. 24, 2009).

The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act mandates the establishment of the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center within the Homeland Security Department. It also requires the department to create a program that would provide academic funding to undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing a career in the field, according to the White House (White House release, Feb. 16).

U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the bill was a "major step forward" in fostering the technical skills required to identify the source of nuclear material used in an attack or seized in transit.

"In the case of an attempted or, in the worst case, a successful nuclear or radiological attack, rapid attribution is critical," Thompson said in a statement. "Our government must have the capacity to quickly determine the source of the nuclear material so that the key decision-makers have the information needed to respond" (U.S. House Homeland Security Committee release, Feb. 16).

February 17, 2010
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U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday signed legislation intended to bolster U.S. technical expertise in the field of nuclear forensics and attribution as part of national efforts to deter acts of nuclear terrorism (see GSN, Dec. 24, 2009).