Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

September 2014 Nuclear Security Brief – Radiological Materials Security and Other News

Oct. 02, 2014

Prepared by Chris Mcguire

Radioactive material disappears in Kazakhstan, more security failures at Y-12, and the United States and Russia work together to remove vulnerable nuclear material from Poland.


  • Authorities in Kazakhstan announced that a container of cesium-137 disappeared during transport.
  • The National Nuclear Security Administration ordered the contractor managing Y-12’s security to conduct a broad review of recent safety and security failures.
  • The United States and Russia worked together to remove nuclear material from Poland.


Security for Radiological Sources

  • Authorities in Kazakhstan announced that a container holding cesium-137 disappeared. Analysts believe it fell off a truck in the western part of the country. Cesium-137 is a category 1 radioactive material, and could be used in a dirty bomb.  (Al-Jazeera America, September 8, 2014)
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent the third report of the Radiation Source Protection and Security Task Force to the President. The report outlines federal efforts over the past four years to improve the security of radioactive material. The report can be read here. (Nuclear Regulatory Commission, September 16, 2014)

Stopping Nuclear Smuggling

  • The United States and Iraq signed a joint action plan to combat the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive material. Following the signing, GTRI provided the Iraqi government with radiation detection and identification equipment. (U.S. Department of State, September 3, 2014)

Threats and Vulnerabilities

  • American security forces tasked with responding to a security breach at nuclear missile sites received new equipment and uniforms better suited to their mission. (Washington Post, September 5, 2014)
  • Andrei Novikov, head of the Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorism Center, warned that terrorists could transport nuclear weapons and materials through Central Asia. (The Moscow Times, September 9, 2014)
  • The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board released a report stating the country’s nuclear weapons labs are unprepared to respond to emergencies, from small-scale security concerns to large-scale disasters. (Santa Fe New Mexican, September 13, 2014)

U.S.-Russian Nuclear Security Cooperation

Security for Nuclear Power Plants and Facilities

  • A recent Department of Energy Inspector General Report found that the National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Secure Transportation failed “to report and properly assess a deliberate example of unauthorized access to nuclear weapons.” A summary of the report can be read here. (Atomic City Underground, September 29, 2014)

Constraining Production of Weapons-Useable Material

  • The Japanese government announced that the country’s plutonium stockpile increased to 47 tons in 2013, approximately 2.9 tons more than in 2012. (The Japan Times, September 17, 2014)
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published the 2014 edition of “The Redbook,” a report projecting future uranium resources, production, and demand. (International Atomic Energy Agency, September 20, 2014)


For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: September 2014 Nuclear Security Brief – Radiological Materials Security and Other News.” Nuclear Security Matters, October 2, 2014,