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AAAS Symposium: Nuclear Forensics and Global Nuclear Deterrence

Nuclear Forensics and Global Nuclear Deterrence Symposium 090-124
Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Hynes Convention Center Room 203, Second Level
The problem of accurate and rapid attribution in the event of a nuclear attack is an increasingly critical part of the broader set of issues that make up ´┐Żnuclear forensic analysis.´┐Ż Closely related questions deal with identifying the origin of interdicted special nuclear materials; radiation detection and isotope analyses; and non-radiochemical means of identifying the origin and pathway of fissile materials. There has been a broad research program in the United States in nuclear forensics for decades, focusing mainly on interactions among nations. After the events of September 2001, the risk of terrorist attack with atomic weapons is widely appreciated. Four critical questions need to be answered post-attack or -interdiction: What is the material? Who are the perpetrators? What is the threat to national security? Where was legitimate control lost? There are plans in place to answer these questions, but significant technical obstacles remain. The basic idea is to develop an international data base of physical signatures that could be used to improve specificity, accuracy, and credibility of any technical assessments. It is also agreed that such a data base may have deterrent value. This panel focuses on clarifying the current capability of nuclear forensics, assessing the future potential of nuclear forensics, and identifying what steps could be taken to fully realize the potential for nuclear forensics to enhance global nuclear deterrence.
Benn Tannenbaum, AAAS Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy, Washington, DC Symposium Organizer
Michael May, Stanford University; former Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Results of a Joint Study of Nuclear Forensics
Reza Abedin-Zadeh, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria International Impacts of Nuclear Forensics

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