Securing Radioactive Materials

More than 21,000 medical, industrial, and academic facilities in the U.S. are licensed to use radioactive materials, and there are many similar sites around the world. The materials are used for various purposes, includ­ing medical and veterinary treatments, industrial applications, and academic research.  There is great concern at agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and Interpol, among others, that nuclear materials may be used as Weapons of Mass Disruption by terrorists  or can be released by a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.  In the wrong hands, they could be used in a radioactive dispersal device (RDD), a so-called “dirty bomb,” or be released into the environment through other means.  Under extreme conditions, they can cause fatalities, serious injuries, and environmental damage, which could require costly decontamination or abandon­ment of valuable locations.  Deployment of an RDD could cause disruption of commerce, denial of critical services and infrastructure, or loss of access to public locations.


This web site is devoted to reducing the threat to the United States by increasing the security for sites that store and use radioactive materials. Unlike bomb grade materials, such as are of concern in Iran, North Korea and other rogue nations, Medical, Industrial and Academic Nuclear (MIAN) materials are not capable of causing an atomic explosion. However, even though a Radioactive Material Dispersal Device (RDD) is not a weapon of mass destruction, such as a nuclear warhead or atomic bomb that utilizes either fission or fusion of highly refined nuclear materials, an RDD is a weapon of mass disruption or a disruptive radiation device (DRD). While a DRD is unlikely to cause large numbers of fatalities or serious injuries, it could have devastating economic consequences caused by the denial of access to key critical infrastructure components.


The information contained on this site is intended to assist in increasing the security of all sites where such materials are stored and reducing the threat of having these materials, which can be life saving, used against us.


Contents of the Site: contains a number of resources for increasing the security of radioactive materials (go to Downloads page). 


  • First, a PowerPoint presentation is provided that explains the background of the project and describes how the increased security programs are used.


  • Second, copies of the Phase I and Phase II reports are provided. The reports are free and can be viewed on the web site or a PDF copy can be downloaded to your computer.  You will need Adobe Reader.


  • Third, a link to is provided where a companion book, written by members of the team, can be purchased for a nominal fee. This book, over 200 pages in length, provides a wealth of information about how terrorists can and will use MIAN materials for their nefarious purposes.


  • Fourth, links to two (2) IAEA publications are provided to allow access to up-to-date security information regarding radioactive materials.


  • Finally, ESP Calc, a calculational MS Excel file, is provided to allow a licensee to assess their own radioactive materials at their own facilities to determine whether enhanced security should be provided.

December 01, 2013