U.S. Has Limited Ability to Account for Nuclear Materials Overseas


In its September 2011 report to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported that the Department of Energy (DOE), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the Department of State, are not fully able to account for U.S. nuclear material overseas that is subject to nuclear cooperation agreement terms because the agreements do not stipulate systematic reporting of such information, and there is no U.S. policy to pursue or obtain such information. GAO claims that DOE and NRC do not have a comprehensive, detailed, and current inventory of U.S. nuclear material – including highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium – overseas that includes the country, facility, and quantity of material. In addition, NRC and DOE could not fully account for the current location and disposition of U.S. HEU overseas in response to a 1992 congressional mandate. The U.S. has conducted 55 physical protection visits to monitor and evaluate the physical security of U.S. nuclear material at facilities overseas, when permitted, of which in 50% of the time U.S. teams found that countries did not comply with international security guidelines. GAO’s study ends with seven recommendations to enable the U.S Government to better account for, and ensure the physical protection of U.S. nuclear material overseas

Abstract Number: 20110280
Headline: U.S. Has Limited Ability to Account for Nuclear Materials Overseas
Date: September 2011
Bibliography: "U.S. Agencies have Limited Ability to Account for, Monitor, and Evaluate the Security of U.S. Nuclear Material Overseas," Report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, United States Government Accounting Office, September 2011, GAO-11-920, www.gao.gov
Material: N/A

April 25, 2012

This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2018.