Programme for Preventing and Combatting Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear
20 April 1996
Illicit trafficking in nuclear material (1) continues to pose a global proliferation risk and a
potential danger to public health and safety. We have recognized the importance of this issue at
our meetings in Naples and Halifax. The criminal diversion of nuclear material could assist
states or terrorist groups to bypass the carefully crafted controls of the international nuclear non-
proliferation regime and permit them to construct or otherwise acquire a nuclear or radiological
weapon. The majority of cases, so far, have involved only small amounts of fissile material or
material of little use for weapons purposes, and many apprehended nuclear traffickers have been
swindlers or petty thieves. Nevertheless, cases of illicit nuclear trafficking continue to occur.
Accordingly, we have concluded that increased cooperation among our governments to combat
illicit trafficking in nuclear material will contribute to increased international security and public
safety, and to achievement of global non-proliferation objectives.
International efforts to suppress illicit trafficking in nuclear material should address
several fundamental aspects of the problem:
- safe and secure storage of nuclear material and effective material protection, control, and
accounting to prevent its diversion;
- cooperative intelligence, customs, and law enforcement efforts to prevent the
transportation and sale of diverted material;
- and joint efforts to identify and suppress illicit supply of, and demand for, nuclear
material and to deter potential traffickers.
In addition, nuclear material released by the dismantling of nuclear weapons and no
longer required for defence purposes must be safely, affordably, and effectively stored, protected
and controlled, until it can be used for non-explosive purposes or safely and permanently
disposed of. This material must also be placed under international safeguards as soon as it is
practicable to do so.
The international community's response to these challenges should draw upon and further
reinforce the existing instruments and organizations of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
These include universal adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Principles and
Objectives agreed at the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension
Conference, and to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as well as
application of the recommendations on physical protection made by the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Cooperation within the
framework of the Zangger Committee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group is important in the fight
against illicit trafficking.
The storage and control of nuclear material is, first and foremost, a national responsibility
but the international community should support national efforts by providing coordinated
assistance, where needed, to ensure that all nuclear material is safely and securely stored and
accurately and effectively controlled and accounted for. Cooperative assistance involving the
IAEA, the European Union, or other arrangements should be maintained and adequately funded.
In order to strengthen our collective response to illicit trafficking in nuclear material we
- regularly share and promptly disseminate, in accordance with the Convention on Physical
Protection of Nuclear Material, information on nuclear theft and smuggling incidents;
- exchange information on significant incidents in this area, especially if sensitive material
is involved, and establish appropriate national points of contact for this purpose;
- foster enhanced cooperation and coordination among our national intelligence, customs,
and law enforcement agencies and cooperation with those other concerned countries in order to
ensure prompt investigation and successful prosecution in cases of illicit nuclear trafficking;
- vigilantly discharge our national responsibility to ensure the effective storage,protection,
control and accounting of nuclear material in our respective territories;
- exchange experience and advice among ourselves and make it available to others, and
support efforts to provide appropriate assistance to ensure safe and effective nuclear material
storage, protection, control and accounting;
- maintain effective national systems of export licensing and control, which are important
to deter and prevent illicit trafficking, and encourage and assist other states to do the same;
- support efforts to define training requirements pertaining to detection of concealed
nuclear material, radiation protection, safe handling and transportation of nuclear material and
radiation protection, for law enforcement agencies (customs, police) in accordance with their
respective tasks and closely coordinate relevant training activities in this area;
- support the exchange of scientific information and data to permit the
identification of the origin, history, and route of seized illicit nuclear material;
- support efforts to ensure that all sensitive nuclear material (separated plutonium and
highly-enriched uranium) not intended for use in meeting defence requirements is safely and
effectively stored and protected and placed under IAEA safeguards (in the Nuclear Weapon
States, under the relevant voluntary offer IAEA-safeguards agreements) as soon as it is
practicable to do so;
- work to strengthen the effective application of IAEA safeguards and encourage all states
to provide adequate funding for them ;
- seek to identify strategies for the safe, effective, and affordable peaceful use of nuclear
material no longer required for defence purposes or for its safe permanent disposal;
- encourage bilateral and other assistance and cooperation arrangements in the above areas
and support their appropriate coordination to ensure that they are complementary and mutually
reinforcing and to avoid needless duplication of efforts;
- promote universal adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which remains the
fundamental basis for all international efforts to prevent the illicit spread of nuclear material,
technology and expertise;
- contribute to the enhanced Treaty review process and implement the Principles and
Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament agreed at the 1995 Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference; and
- work to promote the immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a
non-discriminatory and universally applicable convention banning the production of fissile
material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
1. As defined by Article XX of the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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Source: Released at the Moscow Nuclear Safety and Security Summit, April 20, 1996.
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