July 12, 2021

RUSSIAN NUCLEAR SITES CONDUCTED EMERGENCY SECURITY CHECKS AFTER THE US WARNING ON TERRORIST INTEREST IN RUSSIAN RADIOACTIVE SOURCES

On June 29, 2021, Rosatom issued its 2020 Annual Report. According to the report, Rosatom received a warning on the ISIS* plans to acquire radioactive sources handled at Russian sites in 2020. The warning was received from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which in turn received a "non-official" document containing such a warning from the US Embassy in Moscow.

Following the warning, all Russian operators of sites handling radioactive material and associated facilities conducted unscheduled self-assessment of physical protection (PP) at sites. The assessment took place in September 2020. In addition, the operators conducted operational and functional tests of PP equipment and tests of pro-force response. The tests were conducted in cooperation with on-site pro-force and local branches of the Federal Security Service.

Results of PP status assessment, as well as tests of PP equipment and pro-force, were documented. The results showed that PP systems are ready for due response.

This case provides an example that even in the absence of full-scale cooperation Russia is willing to act on critical nuclear security information provided by other countries.

*The ISIS (Islamic State) is designated as a "terrorist" organization by the Russian Supreme Court and is banned at the territory of the Russian Federation.

Sources:
1. Rosatom: ISIS Wanted to Acquire Radioactive Sources Handled in Russia. July 9, 2021.
2. Rosatom 2020 Annual Report. June 29, 2021 (p. 149).