On September 29, 2017, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), in cooperation with NTI Board Member California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and the California Department of Public Health, hosted a private meeting with more than 80 hospital, university and business leaders, as well as officials from across the state government to make progress on reducing the risks posed by radiological materials.
NTI is working with the State of California to devise strategies to secure and/or replace high-activity radiological sources that could be stolen and used to build radioactive “dirty bombs.” These materials can be found at hospitals and other medical facilities in California and around the country.
Participants learned about radiological risks and risk mitigation in California, a state with a large number of high-activity radiological sources often used in medical and research equipment. The meeting highlighted steps that can be taken to better secure these sources and, where feasible, replace them with safe and effective alternative technologies. U.S. Department of Energy representatives discussed federal programs that provide incentives for conversion to x-ray devices and the removal/disposal of disused sources. Participants also reviewed efforts underway at other hospitals and medical facilities, particularly in New York, to replace blood irradiators with radioactive Cesium-137 sources with safe, effective, alternative x-ray technologies that cannot be used to make dirty bombs.
In addition to Brown, Nunn, and Moniz, other participants included senior officials and representatives from the California Department of Public Health, the University of California, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Southern California, and New York’s Mount Sinai Health System.