The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) led the five-year effort by the U.S. Government and other International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Member States to strengthen the international guidelines for the security of nuclear material. Specifically, DOE/NNSA spearheaded the effort to revise the IAEA Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities (IAEA Information Circular or INFCIRC/225). The IAEA published the fifth revision of INFCIRC/225 in January 2011, achieving an important milestone from the Washington Nuclear Security Summit Work Plan.
First published in 1975, INFCIRC/225 is the cornerstone of the international physical protection regime. Its recommendations serve as the standard incorporated into many states’ domestic laws and bilateral agreements as a requisite for peaceful nuclear cooperation. The recommendations in INFCIRC/225 also provide implementing guidance for international legally binding instruments such as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as amended, and United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1887.
INFCIRC/225/Revision 5 Key Points
The new revision includes guidance for the rapid recovery of missing nuclear material and the mitigation of sabotage. It also introduces the concept of a physical protection “regime” and strengthens performance testing to include force-on-force exercises. Moreover, it introduces a graded approach to physical protection that takes into account the threat, the relative attractiveness of the material, and the potential consequences associated with theft or sabotage. Finally, INFCIRC/225/Revision 5 provides clearer physical protection guidance for states that may be developing peaceful nuclear energy for the first time.
U.S. Efforts to Implement INFCIRC/225/Revision 5
As part of its program of international cooperation on physical security of nuclear material and nuclear facilities, DOE/NNSA is conducting a global effort to promote the implementation of INFCIRC/225/Revision 5. This initiative includes: