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New CRP: Nuclear Security Implications of Counterfeit, Fraudulent, and Suspect Items (J02019)


Counterfeit and fraudulent items pose risks for the nuclear supply chain. (Credit: L. Han/IAEA)

Organizations are invited to join the newly launched IAEA Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on the Nuclear Security Implications of Counterfeit, Fraudulent and Suspect Items (CFSIs) with the aim of establishing a holistic approach in the way that CFSIs are addressed in the nuclear supply chain. The one-year CRP is part of the IAEA’s concerted effort to overcome current and evolving challenges to nuclear security related to CFSIs.

The integrity of the equipment, systems, structures, components or devices that constitute the technological measures of a physical protection regime, or facilitate the conduct of other activities involving nuclear or other radioactive material, are dependent on the supply chain. Counterfeit and fraudulent items that are produced and inserted into the supply chain can degrade and undermine the functionality and integrity of the overall sub-assembly or assembly in which they are built.

“Within the nuclear sector, it is important to think about how CFSIs may impact nuclear security. The ever-increasing occurrence of CFSIs in the global supply chain increases the likelihood and the frequency that organizations operating nuclear facilities or authorized to use nuclear or other radioactive material, encounter these items,” said Elena Buglova, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security. “Leveraging existing practices from other industries as well as developing novel approaches to prevent or mitigate the impacts of CFSIs, will further contribute to a robust nuclear security regime and reduce the risk of CFSIs resulting in the occurrence of a nuclear security event.”

To effectively address CFSIs, there are a number of actions that can be introduced and considered, which range from preventing initial CFSI infiltration to identification of CFSIs within final products that have been procured and received by the end user.

CRP overall objectives

The primary objective of this CRP is to identify lessons learned, best practices and strategies for the prevention and mitigation of the nuclear security implications of CFSIs within the nuclear supply chain. This information will be collected in a non-serial publication that countries can use to develop their own strategies for addressing the issue of CFSIs within the equipment, systems, structures, components or devices used in the facilitation of activities involving nuclear or other radioactive material.

The specific research objectives of this CRP are:

  • to define legislation considerations that can be made when evaluating international and national legislation to determine its capability of being applied to allow counterfeiters and fraudsters to be held accountable through criminal prosecution, financial penalties, or other means;

  • to understand strategies for requiring suppliers and sub-suppliers to engage in practices to mitigate the existence of CFSIs through contractual agreements and other regulations;

  • to develop methods for incorporating the consideration of CFSIs within vulnerability, threat and risk assessments, in order to transform general concerns into localized, credible considerations;

  • to develop techniques and technologies to instantaneously and non-destructively identify CFSIs within the supply chain, or during in-service inspections;

  • to promote methods for greater cooperation with law enforcement and other nuclear supply chain stakeholders (such as operators from other countries); and

  • to establish channels for efficient and effective information sharing.

    The CRP plans to involve institutions that include regulators, nuclear facility operators, research institutes, universities, and law enforcement agencies from approximately 20 countries. Each team will pursue independent research focusing on one of the following topics within the CRP framework: legislation, policy and regulation; vulnerability, risk and threat assessment; verification testing and techniques; and cooperation and information sharing.

    How to join this CRP

    Organizations interested in joining the CRP must submit their Proposal for Research Contract or Agreement by email, no later than 31 March 2023, to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the appropriate template on the CRA web portal. The IAEA encourages institutes to involve, to the extent possible, women researchers and young researchers in their proposals.

    For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants should use the contact form under the CRP page

    Last update: 18 Aug 2023

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