Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT)

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism logo
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Nuclear Detection Working Group Logo

Chaired by United Kingdom

The Nuclear Detection Working Group (NDWG) was established after the 2010 Plenary endorsed the topic as a priority functional area. The topic had been addressed in several prior GICNT activities, and the goal was to establish an ongoing body to address a coordinated plan of work. Its main focus is mapping, building, and enhancing National Detection Capabilities. Like the other working groups, the NDWG is product-oriented: it focuses on tangible outcomes and practical deliverables to raise awareness, transfer knowledge and experience, and provide practical guidance both for detection experts and those with other areas of responsibility (e.g. law enforcement, policy makers, local authorities, universities, and the private sector).

The objective of the NDWG is to support an effective and sustainable national nuclear detection architecture as a critical part of a nation’s efforts to deter, detect, and interdict nuclear and radioactive material that is out of regulatory control. In support of this objective, the NDWG focuses on:

  • Building and enhancing national detection capabilities,
  • Developing practical guidance for detection experts,
  • Promoting the transfer of knowledge and experience between detection experts and other key stakeholders,
  • Raising awareness of key detection challenges and mitigating strategies, and
  • Holding activities that promote partners’ practical implementation of nuclear detection best practices.

Recent Outcomes

Recent outcomes of the NDWG include a four-volume Developing a Nuclear Detection Architecture Series highlighting a risk-informed, and defense-in-depth architecture that addresses the multiple layers through which an adversary may transport radioactive or nuclear material out of regulatory control from a point of origin to a target, and also an “Exercise Playbook” designed for partners to organize future activities that promote self-assessment.

The NDWG’s work also includes: regional exercises to address border detection challenges and promote regional cooperation; identification of best practices in detection; assessment of emerging technologies; building coordinated government approaches to detect illicit trafficking; and promoting sustainable national-level exercise capability to enhance self-assessment.

NFWG Logo

Chaired by Canada

The Nuclear Forensics Working Group (NFWG) was established after the 2010 Plenary endorsed the topic as a priority focus area. The goal of the working group is to develop documents that raise awareness of nuclear forensics among policymakers, assist the development of core capabilities, foster intergovernmental relationships, conduct joint exercises, and share best practices. While conducting its work, the NFWG looks to collaborate with nuclear forensics efforts that are already underway by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Union, and the Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group (ITWG) in order to synchronize efforts and prevent duplication. This ensures endorsing nations are receiving new, vital information in developing and enhancing their nuclear forensics capabilities.

Effective nuclear forensic science enhances a state’s ability to assess and establish linkages between nuclear and radioactive material. NFWG's objective is to support efforts to stop and prosecute those who have attempted to transport, possess, or use it without legitimate state control. In support of this objective, the NFWG focuses on:

  • Developing guidance and activities,
  • Raising awareness of nuclear forensics among policymakers,
  • Assisting partners to develop and sustain core forensic capabilities,
  • Fostering intra- and intergovernmental relationships, and
  • Promoting exchange of best practices in nuclear forensics.

Recent Outcomes

Recent outcomes of the NFWG include the Nuclear Forensics Fundamentals for Policy Makers and Decision Makers document, which highlights the importance of nuclear forensics in enhancing nuclear material security and discourages illicit uses of nuclear and other radioactive material; and also the Exchanging Nuclear Forensics Information: Benefits, Challenges, and Resources best practices guide that provides an overview of how the exchange of nuclear forensics information within and between states may support investigations and strengthen global nuclear security.

The NFWG’s work also includes: use of the Global Initiative Information Portal (GIIP) to uplift nuclear forensic capabilities self-assessment tools to help partner nations identify existing national nuclear forensics resources and gaps; exercises to help validate existing mechanisms and procedures to obtain and provide international nuclear forensics assistance; and promotion of nuclear forensics elements to be included in national response plans.

Response & Mitigation Working Group Logo

Chaired by Argentina

The Response and Mitigation Working Group (RMWG) was established after the 2011 Plenary endorsed this topic as the third priority focus area. This working group will coordinate activities designed to produce best practices and recommendations for the response to a radiological/nuclear terrorist incident. Initial efforts will examine best practices related to crises when the potential threat exists to human life as a result of a radiological/nuclear terrorist threat or incident.

The RMWG's objective is to support the ability to respond in an effective, timely, and coordinated manner to terrorist incidents involving nuclear or other radioactive materials as an essential element of a nuclear security framework. In support of this objective, the RMWG focuses on:

  • Examining best practices and techniques related to terrorist threats or incidents involving radiological/nuclear material,
  • Coordinating activities to promote information exchange among interdisciplinary groups of experts,
  • Producing appropriate response recommendations for inclusion in local, national, and regional response plans, and
  • Raising awareness about the unique response challenges posed by terrorist events involving radiological/nuclear material.

Recent Outcomes

Recent outcomes of the RMWG include development of the Fundamentals for Establishing and Maintaining a Nuclear Security Response Framework, a collection of key considerations that may inform a country when designing or enhancing its national nuclear/radiological response system for security incidents.

The RMWG’s work also includes: promoting preparedness measures to improve interagency coordination and collaboration in support of response operations; sharing of different models to identify best practices to develop and sustain national response frameworks; developing mechanisms for international communications and requests for assistance during response operations; and promoting sustainable national-level exercise capability to enhance national and international coordination.