Nuclear Trafficking: IAEA's Latest Statistics

 

There were 103 confirmed incidents of illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and radioactive materials in 2005, newly released statistics from the Agency’s Illicit Trafficking Database (ITDB) show.

The ITDB covers a broad range of cases from illegal possession, attempted sale and smuggling, to unauthorized disposal of materials and discoveries of lost radiological sources.

Eighteen of the confirmed incidents in 2005 involved nuclear materials; 76 involved radioactive material, mainly radioactive sources; two involved both nuclear and other radioactive materials, and seven involved radioactively contaminated materials.

Another 57 incidents from previous years were reported. They involved illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities and had occurred earlier, mainly in 2004.

Two reported cases in 2005 involved small quantities of high-enriched uranium (HEU) which is a fissile material. In New Jersey, USA, a package containing
3.3 grams of HEU was reported lost. The second incident occurred in Fukui, Japan, when a neutron flux detector containing 0.017 grams of HEU was lost at a nuclear power plant.

“From the terrorism threat standpoint, these cases are of little concern but they show security vulnerabilities at facilities handling HEU,” the latest report from the ITDB said. Indeed the majority of cases reported in 2005 showed no evidence of criminal activity.

The ITDB facilitates the exchange of authoritative information on incidents of trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials. There are 91 countries that report to the IAEA’s database. For the full report covering the last 13 years, see:

www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Features/RadSources/PDF/fact_figures2005.pdf

 

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