US-Russian Collaboration in Nuclear Forensics - INMM 2011 Page: 4 of 11
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July 16, 2006, Presidents Bush and Putin announced the formation of the Global Initiative to
Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and the U.S. and Russia continue to serve as co-chairs of
the GICNT.2 On April 12-13, 2010, President Obama hosted a Nuclear Security Summit in
Washington, with the goal of enhancing international cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism.
Over 40 nations, including the Russian Federation, participated in the Summit. One of the key
focus areas for the conference was the prevention of nuclear smuggling. In the Summit's
Communique, the Participating States committed themselves to cooperation "in relevant areas
such as nuclear detection, forensics, law enforcement, and the development of new
technologies."3 The accompanying work plan for the summit noted ongoing work in the area of
nuclear forensics, while encourage states to "explore ways to work together to develop national
capacities for nuclear forensics, such as the creation of national libraries and an international
directory of points of contact, to facilitate and encourage cooperation between States in
combating illicit nuclear trafficking." and "to enhance broader cooperation among local, national
and international customs and law enforcement bodies to prevent illicit nuclear trafficking and
acts of nuclear terrorism, including through joint exercises and sharing of best practices."4
IMPORTANCE OF US-RUSSIAN COLLABORATION IN NUCLEAR FORENSICS
Arguably, there can be no greater international collaboration in the new science of nuclear
forensics than that between the world's two largest nuclear powers, the United States and the
Russian Federation (RF). The U.S. and RF possess the two largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons
by far, as well as the largest stockpiles of weapons-usable material in general. This implies that
the nuclear forensic probabilities (the statistical probability that an interdicted material derived
from a given source) for any sample, no matter what its materials characteristics, are influenced
more by the size and characteristics of the U.S. and Russian material stockpiles than anything
else.5 In addition, the U.S. and Russian nuclear programs combined have more than a century of
experience with nuclear materials-- in their production, in their analysis, and in their use. For the
most part, these two nuclear programs have evolved independently, so there would seem to be
ample opportunities for learning from each other. Fortunately, we have several previous
collaborations on which to build this new partnership.
Analysis of an Interdicted HEU Sample (LLNL/VNIINM)
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Bochvar All-Russian Scientific
Research Institute for Inorganic Materials (VNIINM) collaborated on the analysis of a highly
2 For more information about the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, please see:
http://www.state.gov/t/isn/c18406.htm; accessed May 26, 2010.
3 Communique of the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, http://www.state.gov/nuclearsummit/releases/140154.htm;
4 Work Plan of the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, http://www.whitehouse. gov/the-press-office/work-plan-
washington-nuclear-security-summit ; accessed 5/26/10.
5 M. Kristo, "Univariate Nuclear Forensic Signatures: A Theoretical Treatment," in preparation.
6 M. Kristo, "U.S. and Russian Collaboration In the Area of Nuclear Forensics," paper published in "The Future of
the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015," proceedings of the international workshop sponsored by the U.S.
National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences, November 12-13, 2007.
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Kristo, M J. US-Russian Collaboration in Nuclear Forensics - INMM 2011, article, May 31, 2011; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc870292/m1/4/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.