Under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreements, States are required to establish a “state system of accounting and control” (SSAC) to keep track of all nuclear material (quantity and type), note changes in material inventories (imports/exports), and monitor all material balance areas (for material use and/or processing) within safeguarded nuclear facilities. States are required to report data on nuclear materials at the level of these material balance areas to the IAEA and the IAEA uses that data to draw conclusions regarding state level diversion of nuclear material.
While ensuring international obligations are met is extremely important, inventory tracking and management also plays a critical role in securing nuclear materials against the threat of theft, diversion, and sabotage at the sub-national level. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) employs inventory management and tracking systems at both the facility and national level to ensure the knowledge and capability for managing, tracking and reporting its nuclear material inventories to meet both domestic and international requirements.
Facility-Level Inventory Tracking and Management
Facility level inventory tracking and management systems must be capable of accounting for all nuclear material on-site in item and bulk form while in storage and during processing. The system must also be capable of determining inventory differences at the end of an inventory period and also evaluating those differences to ensure that they are attributable to normal processing operations and measurement uncertainties. The NNSA manages the Local Area Nuclear Material Accounting System which is a core accountability system software modular in design to facilitate its use at facilities with varying missions and operations. Currently 14 Department of Energy sites use LANMAS as their inventory tracking and management system.
National Level Inventory Tracking and Management
The NNSA also jointly manages the national level inventory tracking and management database used to track the quantities and locations of nuclear materials in the United States. It is co-managed by NNSA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).