IAEA Database Tracks Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear Material Worldwide

The IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database (ITDB) contributes to the IAEA´s activities to help strengthen nuclear security worldwide and prevent nuclear and radiological terrorism. Participants to the 48th IAEA General Conference were given an overview of this unique database, which contains information confirmed by States involved about incidents concerning illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials.

Some 540 illicit trafficking incidents were reported through December 2003, although, as of today, the number is closer to 600 (subject to fuller review and confirmation). Several hundred additional incidents - reported in open sources but not confirmed by States - are also tracked in the IAEA database but not included in the confirmed statistics.

The database includes incidents that involve unauthorized acquisition, provision, possession, use, transfer or disposal of nuclear material and other radioactive material.

Of the confirmed illicit trafficking incidents (as of 31 December 2003):

  • 182 incidents involved nuclear material;
  • 330 incidents involved radioactive material other than nuclear;
  • 23 incidents involved both nuclear and other radioactive material; and
  • 5 incidents involved other material.

Since its founding in 1995, the database has expanded from cataloguing incidents to identifying common trends and patterns, as part of work to assist States in preventing, detecting and responding to illicit nuclear tracking threats.

The database includes reported incidents from the 80 participating Member States. Non-participating States are urged to join the ITDB allowing the programme to better contribute to the international efforts of strengthening nuclear security worldwide and preventing nuclear and radiological terrorism.

Member States wishing to join the Illicit Trafficking Database programme should contact the Office of Nuclear Security.

Last update: 12 November 2014