The Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative (NSOI) seeks to enhance partnerships with key countries around the world to strengthen capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to incidents of nuclear smuggling. 

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News and upcoming events

Lithuania Signs Joint Action Plan - On April 23, 2013, Lithuania became the eleventh country with which the U.S. Department of State completed a Counter Nuclear Smuggling Joint Action Plan.  Secretary of State John Kerry and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius signed the “Joint Action Plan between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on Combating Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials and Related Technology” at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.  A video of the ceremony is available here, the press release is available here, and the official remarks are here.
United States and Algeria Consult to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling and Strengthen Strategic Trade Controls – On February 10 – 11, 2013, Officials from the United States and Algeria met in Algiers to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation to counter nuclear smuggling.  During the meeting, both sides exchanged views and shared information on current smuggling threats and trends, and discussed best practices in the areas of border security, nuclear detection, nuclear forensics, law enforcement, and other tools to prevent, detect, and respond to incidents of nuclear smuggling.  The two sides agreed, via exchange of diplomatic notes to cooperate in strengthening Algeria's counter nuclear smuggling capabilities.  Click here for the official United States press release.

NSOI and Armenia Launch Anti-Corruption Public Messaging Campaign –
On July 12, 2012, U.S. Ambassador John Heffern and Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgian officially launched a nationwide, anti-corruption public messaging campaign at Yerevan's Zvartnots International Airport.  The messaging campaign, sponsored by NSOI and the U.S. Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program, aims to prevent corruption from undercutting Armenia's efforts to detect illicit cargoes at international ports of entry and customs facilities.  It features radio and television advertisements, as well as printed materials containing an overview of standard customs procedures and a list of telephone hotlines that citizens can call if they experience problems at border crossing of customs houses.  For more information, click here.

NSOI Begins Discussions with Bulgaria – NSOI representatives traveled to Sofia on June 15, 2012, for an initial meeting to discuss Bulgaria’s anti-nuclear-smuggling capabilities, ongoing training efforts, and possibilities for further cooperation in this field.  Representatives from eight Bulgarian government agencies attended the event and welcomed further cooperation with the United States to combat nuclear smuggling.  The NSOI team plans to return to Sofia in autumn to discuss a Joint Action Plan outlining ways to strengthen Bulgaria’s anti-nuclear-smuggling capabilities and identifying specific areas where Bulgarian experts could share best practices with their international counterparts.

Uzbekistan Signs Joint Action Plan –  On April 24, 2012, Uzbekistan became the tenth country with which NSOI completed a Joint Action Plan.  The “Joint Action Plan on Combating Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear and Radioactive Materials” was signed via an exchange of letters.
 

Slovakia Signs Joint Action Plan - On December 7, 2011, Slovakia became the ninth country with which NSOI completed a Joint Action Plan, when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Slovak Foreign Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda signed the “Joint Action Plan Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Slovak Republic on Combating Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials and Related Technology.”  Click here to view U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks on the U.S.- Slovak Joint Action Plan to Combat Nuclear Smuggling.  Click here to view the official statement from the Slovak Foreign Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.

Tajikistan Signs Joint Action Plan - On November 18, 2011, Tajikistan became the eighth country with which NSOI completed a Joint Action Plan, when Tajikistan Foreign Minister Khamrokhon Zarifi and U.S. Ambassador Ken Gross signed the “Joint Action Plan Between the Government of the United States of America and the Republic of Tajikistan on Combating Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials.”  Click here for the official United States press release.
NSOI and Slovak Delegations Provisionally Agree to Joint Action Plan - An NSOI delegation traveled to Bratislava on September 27, 2011, for a second meeting with a delegation representing the Slovak Government to follow up on the session held in May.  In the latest meeting, the delegations provisionally agreed to the text of a Joint Action Plan to Combat Nuclear Smuggling. This Joint Action Plan is now being reviewed by the Slovak Government for approval to sign.  The delegations also agreed to a list of priority assistance projects to support implementation of the Joint Action Plan.   
U.S. and Czech Republic Sign Anti-Nuclear Smuggling Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - On September 14, 2011, in Washington, the United States and the Czech Republic signed an agreement to expand their partnership to help combat nuclear terrorism around the world.  Under the agreement, signed by NNSA Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington and Ambassador Petr Gandalovic, the Czech government will contribute $25,000 through NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) to support an NSOI-identified project in Georgia.  This project will provide physical security upgrades to a storage facility that contains highly radioactive materials. 


Moldova Signs Joint Action Plan -
On July 19, 2011, Moldova became the seventh country with which NSOI completed a Joint Action Plan, when Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat and U.S. Ambassador Asif J. Chaundhry signed the “Joint Action Plan Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Moldova on Combating Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials.” Click here for the official press release in English, Romanian, and Russian. Click here to view video of the signing ceremony.
 
Successful Implementation Review in Armenia – On June 30, 2011, an NSOI-led delegation met with Armenian officials in Yerevan to review implementation of the 2008 U.S.-Armenian joint action plan to combat nuclear smuggling. In this review, the participants determined that the Armenian government had made significant progress in carrying out all 28 steps specified in the joint action plan.  The sides also agreed on several short- and long-term actions to facilitate further progress. 

Joint Department of State/Department of Justice (DOJ)/Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Legal Review Workshop – To implement one of the agreed steps in the U.S.-DRC Joint Action Plan to Combat Nuclear Smuggling, U.S. and Congolese experts held a workshop in Kinshasa on May 19 and 20 to strengthen the DRC’s legal ability to combat the nuclear smuggling threat.  The DOJ's Counterterrorism Section lawyer and a broad delegation of Congolese experts developed several recommendations for legislative reforms.  The overall goal of these recommendations is to ensure that Congolese law enables authorities to prosecute fully all types of cases of nuclear smuggling, including scams and hoaxes.  Click here for the official press release.
NSOI and Uzbekistani Delegations Provisionally Agree to Joint Action Plan - An NSOI delegation traveled to Tashkent on May 12 for a second meeting with a delegation representing the Government of Uzbekistan to follow up on the session held the previous November.  In the latest meeting, the delegations provisionally agreed to the text of a Joint Action Plan to Combat Nuclear Smuggling. This Joint Action Plan is now being reviewed by the Government of Uzbekistan for approval to sign it.  The delegations also discussed a list of priority assistance projects to support implementation of the Joint Action Plan. 
 
NSOI Begins Discussions with Slovakia NSOI representatives traveled to Bratislava on May 5 for an initial meeting to discuss Slovakia’s anti-nuclear smuggling capabilities and possibilities for cooperation in this field.  Thirty Slovak representatives from multiple government agencies attended the event and welcomed further cooperation with the United States in this area.  The NSOI team plans to return to Bratislava in late summer to discuss a joint action plan to enhance Slovakia’s anti-nuclear smuggling capabilities and identify areas in which Slovak experts could share best practices with their international counterparts.

U.S. and Netherlands Sign Anti-Nuclear Smuggling Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - On May 4, 2011, in Washington, the United States and the Netherlands signed an agreement to expand their partnership to help combat nuclear terrorism around the world.  Under the agreement, signed by NNSA Deputy Administrator Anne Harington and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Royal Netherlands Embassy Gerard van der Wulp, the Dutch government will contribute $500,000 through NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) program to support an NSOI-identified project in Kazakhstan.  This project will improve the Government of Kazakhstan’s ability to search for and secure abandoned radioactive sources on Kazakh territory.  Click here for the Department of Energy press release on the Dutch contribution.

U.S. and Finland Sign Anti-Nuclear Smuggling Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – On March 24th, in Helsinki, the United States and Finland signed another MOU on cooperation to combat nuclear smuggling.  Through this MOU, Finland will again contribute funding to an NSOI-identified project to provide radiation detection equipment to the Kyrgyz Republic to detect and deter nuclear smuggling across its borders. Click here to see the English press release from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Another Successful Implementation Review in the Kyrgyz Republic – On March 3 in Bishkek, a NSOI delegation met with a broad-based Kyrgyz delegation to review progress in implementing the joint action plan to combat nuclear smuggling that the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the U.S. Government had completed in 2007. Participants in this review determined, despite recent events, that the Kyrgyz government has made progress in carrying out most of the steps specified in the joint action plan, with assistance from international partners.  The sides also agreed on several immediate actions to facilitate further progress.
Democratic Republic of the Congo Signs Joint Action Plan - On December 21, 2010, the Democratic Republic of the Congo became the sixth country with which NSOI completed an action plan when U.S. Ambassador James Entwistle and DRC Foreign Minister Thambwe signed the “Joint Action Plan between the United States of America and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Combating Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials” at a ceremony in Kinshasa. 
 
NSOI Convenes Donor Conference in Georgia -
An NSOI delegation met with representatives of the Government of Georgia and several international partners on July 21-22 in Tbilisi to review Georgia's progress in implementing its anti-nuclear smuggling Joint Action Plan and related Addendum, to seek additional funding for NSOI projects, and to coordinate U.S. assistance with international counterparts. Forty-six representatives from 11 Georgian agencies, 8 prospective donors, and several U.S. agencies participated. The Georgian delegation reported significant progress on nearly 95% of the 65 action items specified in the Joint Action Plan and Addendum. As a result of the conference, NSOI added five new anti-smuggling projects to its list of agreed priority projects and tenatively secured pledges to provide at least partial funding for each of these projects. Click here for the expanded project list.


 
 
New Zealand and Norway Announce New Contributions to NSOI at April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit – At the Nuclear Security Summit, held in Washington D.C. this past April, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key announced a contribution of approximately $500,000 to an NSOI project that will support the installation of radiation detectors at Kyiv's main international airport.  This is New Zealand's third contribution to NSOI.  Its previous contributions have provided radiation monitors for land borders in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.  At the Summit, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, also announced a $500,000 contribution toward the installation of radiation monitors on Kazakhstan's borders.  Norway previously contributed more than $800,000 to the same project in Kazakhstan in 2008, and again intends to make this contribution through the U.S. Department of Energy's Second Line of Defense program. 
 

U.S. and Finland Sign Anti-Nuclear Smuggling Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – On October 30, 2009, in Helsinki, U.S. Ambassador Bruce J. Oreck and Finnish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Pertti Torstila signed an MOU for cooperation on nonproliferation assistance.  Through this MOU, Finland will contribute funding to an NSOI-identified project to provide radiation detection equipment to the Kyrgyz Republic to detect and deter nuclear smuggling across its borders.  Click here for the official press release on the signing ceremony. Click here for the Department of Energy press release on the Finnish contribution.  
 

Joint NSOI-UNODC Legislative Drafting Workshops in the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan –NSOI worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and host government authorities to conduct workshops to review the Criminal Codes of the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan to ensure that these two Governments have sufficient authority to prosecute all types of cases of illicit trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials, including scams and hoaxes.  The workshops, which were held in Bishkek on September 23-24 and in Astana on September 29-October 1, produced specific recommendations to amend the Criminal Codes of both countries.  The recommendations will be submitted to the appropriate national authorities in each country for final approval.

 

Successful Implementation Reviews in the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan – On June 8 in Bishkek, an NSOI delegation met with a broad-based Kyrgyz delegation to review progress in implementing the joint action plan to combat nuclear smuggling that the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (GOKR) and the USG had completed in 2007.  Participants in this review determined that the GOKR, through its own efforts, as well as through international assistance, has made significant progress in carrying out most of the steps specified in the joint action plan.  They also agreed on several immediate actions to facilitate further progress.  On June 10 in Astana, the NSOI delegation met with a broad-based Kazakhstani delegation to conduct a similar review of the joint action plan completed with the Government of Kazakhstan in 2006, with similar results. 




U.S. and New Zealand Sign Anti-Nuclear Smuggling Arrangement
– On April 7, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully signed an arrangement for cooperation on nonproliferation assistance.  Through this arrangement, New Zealand will contribute directly to an NSOI-developed project complementing a U.S. program to equip Kazakhstan’s borders with radiation monitors and provide related infrastructure and training.  This is New Zealand’s second contribution to an NSOI project.  In 2007, New Zealand contributed to a similar project to secure Ukraine’s border.  Click here for the official press release on the signing ceremony. 

Republic of Georgia Signs Addendum to Joint Action Plan On February 27, 2009, the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia and the Deputy Ministers of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Justice, signed the “Addendum to the Joint Document of U.S. and Georgian Delegations on Georgia’s Priority Needs to Improve Its Capabilities to Combat Nuclear Smuggling.”  The Addendum addresses the degradation of Georgia’s anti-nuclear smuggling capabilities resulting from the August 2008 conflict and additional needs that became apparent since the original joint action plan was signed on February 2, 2007.  With this new agreement, the Georgian government commits to take additional steps to improve its anti-nuclear smuggling capabilities, and the U.S. government agrees to fund or seek foreign funding for an expanded list of cooperative projects to support Georgia’s anti-smuggling efforts.  Click here for the expanded project list.  Media coverage by Rustavi 2 can be viewed here.       


South Korean Contribution – On December 4, 2008, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to provide funding through DOE to equip several border posts in Ukraine with radiation detection equipment.   The equipment will be installed by DOE’s Second Line of Defense program.  This contribution was secured through a joint effort by NSOI and DOE.  Last year, South Korea helped to secure radioactive sources in Ukraine through a similar MOU.
 

Successful Forensics Workshop – NSOI analyst Jennifer Mastros attended the Nuclear Forensics and Law Enforcement Awareness Workshop in Karlsruhe, Germany on December 2-4.  The primary purpose of the workshop, which was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the European Union’s Institute of Transuranium Elements, and the International Science and Technology Center, was to identify assistance projects to improve national responses to illicit uses of nuclear or radiological materials.  More than 70 law enforcement and scientific experts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and the U.S. participated in the event. 

Global Initiative Legal and Regulatory Frameworks Conference – On September 4 and 5, the NSOI team participated in a conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to foster discussion on the implementation of appropriate criminal and/or civil liability for terrorists and those that facilitate acts of nuclear terrorism.  The NSOI team, the U.S. Department of Justice, and several NSOI partner countries made presentations on the importance of adequate legal authorities for prosecuting nuclear smuggling.  The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and the U.S. Department of Defense organized this conference under the auspices of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.  

U.S.-Ukraine Nonproliferation Working Group Meeting – At the semiannual meeting in Kiev on July 31 and August 1, NSOI Coordinator Michael Stafford and his Ukrainian counterpart reviewed Ukrainian progress in implementing the U.S.-Ukrainian Joint Action Plan and U.S. progress in securing funding for cooperative projects supporting that plan. 

 
Republic of Armenia Signs Joint Action Plan – On July 14, 2008, the Republic of Armenia became the fifth country with which NSOI completed an action plan when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian signed the “Joint Action Plan between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Armenia on Combating Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials.” 

Joint NSOI-UNODC Legislative Drafting Workshop in Ukraine – NSOI and UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) held their first joint workshop on legislative drafting in Ukraine from March 11-13, 2008.  This national workshop, entitled the Legislative Drafting Expert Workshop on the Criminal Law Aspects of the Universal Legal Framework Against Nuclear Terrorism, sought to strengthen Ukraine's national legislation and international legal cooperation against nuclear smuggling and terrorism.  UNODC's legal experts, in cooperation with a representative from the U.S. Department of Justice's Counterterrorism Section, developed recommendations for necessary legislative reforms in partnership with a broad delegation of Ukrainian experts.  The goal of these recommendations is to allow Ukrainian law to fully prosecute all cases of nuclear smuggling, including scams, and to identify the necessary steps to bring Ukraine's laws into compliance with the relevant international conventions on terrorism.

Kyrgyz Republic Signs Joint Action Plan
– On September 30, 2007, the Kyrgyz Republic became the fourth country with which NSOI completed an action plan when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ednan Karabayev signed the “Program of Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic on Combating the Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials.”  For the U.S. Department of State press release on this event, click here.
 
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The Threat of Nuclear Smuggling
The Threat of Nuclear Smuggling
Fissile material -- highly-enriched uranium (HEU) or weapon-grade plutonium -- is the critical ingredient in building a nuclear weapon. Most experts agree that terrorists are not able to produce fissile material, but a reasonably sophisticated terrorist organization could make a crude nuclear weapon, or improvised nuclear device (IND), if it stole or acquired a sufficient quantity and quality of such material. Therefore, combating smuggling of weapons-usable nuclear materials is vital to preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons.
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