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Nuclear Nonproliferation

As more countries embrace nuclear power as a cost-effective and clean alternative to fossil fuels, the need exists to ensure that the nuclear fuel cycle is safe and proliferation-resistant. As the Department of Energy's lead laboratory for nuclear energy research, development and demonstration, Idaho National Laboratory is working to develop technologies and systems to prevent the illicit production, acquisition, transport and use of harmful nuclear materials and technology. 

Over the course of 60 years, Idaho National Laboratory has developed the capabilities, expertise and facilities necessary to protect and enhance the security of the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Today, we apply both operational and scientific expertise to provide expertise in areas including:

  • Materials and Process Security
  • Signatures and Detection
  • Advanced Nuclear Energy Safeguards
  • Radiological Training and Testing

Materials and Process Security

Our efforts play a key role in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership by enabling the secure deployment of proliferation-resistant nuclear energy systems while reducing the worldwide need for enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. Working with DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), INL scientists are also heavily involved in reducing the global threat of legacy nuclear materials and facilities through the development and deployment of proliferation-resistant nuclear fuels for advanced research reactors.

In addition, our scientists regularly conduct material protection, control and accountability training to assist other countries in developing security plans to protect their radiological materials and production facilities from terrorist threats. In addition, our researchers are well-known for their ability to negotiate with foreign governments for the removal of stockpiled nuclear materials and fuels.

Signatures and Detection

Considered experts in nuclear signatures and detection, INL engineers have applied their knowledge to the development of active interrogation technologies such as the Pulsed Photonuclear Assessment System, which scans shipping containers for concealed nuclear materials. INL is also a key player in examining nuclear and radiological material samples to understand their origin and potential uses.

Radiological Training

Using our expansive facilities and expertise in nuclear material characteristics, INL has created a unique location for advanced nuclear materials detection training. Our researchers routinely provide comprehensive classroom and table top exercise training for first responders, the National Guard, and other law enforcement agencies that are challenged to respond to radiological incidents.

Advanced Nuclear Energy Safeguards

The laboratory also participates in the Department of Energy's Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP) program, which reduces proliferation concerns by retraining former Soviet Union weapons scientists to use their education for peaceful, nonmilitary projects. This long-running program has led to the creation of advanced cancer-treatment technologies and improved detection sensors for airports and schools.

Page Contact Information:

Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office