The Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group (ITWG) is open to all states interested in nuclear forensics. The objective of the ITWG is to advance the scientific discipline of nuclear forensics and to provide a common approach and effective technical solutions to competent national or international authorities that request assistance. Since its inception in 1995 the ITWG has been focused on nuclear forensic best practice through the development of techniques and methods for forensic analysis of nuclear, other radioactive, and radiologically contaminated materials.
Nuclear forensics is an essential component of national and international nuclear security response plans to events involving radioactive materials diverted outside of radioactive control. The ability to collect and preserve radiological and associated evidence as material is interdicted and conduct nuclear forensics analysis provides insights to the history and origin of nuclear material, the point of diversion, and the identity of the perpetrators.
Nuclear forensics is both a technical capability as well as an investigatory process. For this reason the ITWG is a working group of experts including scientists, law enforcement officers, first responders, and nuclear regulators assigned by competent national authorities, affiliated contractors, and international organizations.
Outreach is a primary goal of the ITWG. The working group disseminates recent progress in nuclear forensic analysis and interpretation with the broader community of technical and security professionals who can benefit from these advancements. Affiliated international partner organizations include the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), EURATOM, INTERPOL, EUROPOL, and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
Priorities and membership
As a technical working group, the priorities for the ITWG include identifying requirements for nuclear forensic applications, evaluating present nuclear forensic capabilities, and recommending cooperative measures that ensure all states can respond to acts involving illicit trafficking and unauthorized possession of nuclear or other radioactive materials. An objective of the working group is to encourage technical peer-review of the nuclear forensic discipline. These goals are met through annual meetings, exercises, and informal and formal publications.
ITWG participating states and organizations recognize that radiological crimes deserve thorough investigation and, when warranted, criminal prosecution. The ITWG encourages all states to possess the basic capability to categorize nuclear or other radioactive materials to assess their threat. As an international group, the ITWG shares its expertise through its membership to advance the science of nuclear forensics as well as its application to nuclear security objectives.