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Areas of interest


The ITWG will improve technical capabilities to foster international security through nuclear forensics and will :

  • Provide recommendations for developing national response plans (e.g., the Model Action Plan) enabling a harmonized approach and a qualified and coordinated response to criminal or unauthorized acts involving the unauthorized possession, transport and use of nuclear or other radioactive materials.
  • Develop concepts and elaborate guidelines for responding to radiological incident sites, including collection and preservation of evidence, radiological hazard assessment, categorization of seized nuclear/radioactive material, and awareness of applicable national laws and regulations.
  • Support education and training in the field of nuclear forensics.
  • Promote R&D for improved techniques and methods in the field of nuclear forensics.
  • Identify and prioritize techniques and methods for forensic analyses of nuclear and other radioactive materials in order to answer questions regarding origin and intended use of seized materials.
  • Adapt classical forensics techniques and methods to radioactively contaminated evidence for supporting prosecution and for supplying information bearing on source and route attribution.
  • Formulate and execute inter-laboratory exercises to evaluate and improve techniques and methods for forensic analysis of seized nuclear materials.
  • Identify and design relevant tools for interpretation of nuclear forensic analytical data. This may include evaluation and interpretation methods including international forensic databanks, and comparative sample and data libraries.
  • Communicate the progress and annual meeting summaries of the ITWG through maintenance of both a registration-only and open web-site augmented by regular updates.
  • Publish informal and formal reports to disseminate findings pertaining to nuclear forensic best practice.
  • As invited, participate in international meetings sponsored by ITWG partner organizations (e.g., the International Atomic Energy Agency) to represent nuclear forensic expertise.
  • Provide points of contact and technical information for organizations and states that request assistance.

Mandate and history

The impetus for the Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group came from the recognition that, after the break-up of the former Soviet Union, international cooperation in nuclear forensic analysis was imperative to combat illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive material. Regular exchange of information and cooperation of experts was the preferred means to meet this objective.

As a result of the G7+1 summit held in Ottawa, Canada in 1995, the international community requested a meeting be convened involving experts to address technical solutions to the problem of illicit trafficking. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA hosted this meeting in November 1995 where 14 attending states and international organizations agreed on the desirability of establishing a standing working group for international cooperation in nuclear forensics.

As a result, the ITWG (initially called the Nuclear Smuggling International Technical Working Group) was established. This approach was further endorsed at the G7+1 nuclear safety and security summit held in April 1996 in Moscow, Russian Federation. At their request, the ITWG reports to the stakeholders’ competent body, presently the Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG).



An Executive Committee oversees work of the ITWG and is supported by expert task groups that conduct technical studies and outreach to advance international nuclear forensic best practice. Executive Committee Executive Committee functions include (but are not limited to) planning of annual meetings, preparation of annual meeting announcements and announcements of other events involving the ITWG, forming task groups to study technical topics, identifying task group chairs, responding for requests for information about the ITWG.

The Executive is responsible for attracting new membership at annual meetings and for administering membership requests. The Executive Committee represents the ITWG to the stakehjolders and international organisations. Tasks groups To allow more detailed consideration of ITWG technical priorities, standing task groups may be established to stimulate technical progress between annual meetings. Experts are drawn from the membership to staff the task groups. Task groups report at each annual meeting. Task groups can be created and disbanded to reflect current ITWG technical and organizational priorities.

ITWG Nuclear Forensics Laboratories (INFL) The ITWG Nuclear Forensics Laboratories (INFL) is an affiliate of the ITWG that exists to advance the measurement science of nuclear forensics for attributing nuclear and radiological material and to serve states and law enforcement agencies that need these capabilities. The INFL is distinct from the standing task groups. The intent of the INFL is to focus on the technical development and application of nuclear forensics while the ITWG at its plenary meetings provides the forum for end users and policy makers to engage with scientists regarding the application of nuclear forensics. Members of the INFL are nuclear forensic laboratories that have participated in prior ITWG analytical exercises. The INFL meets in a technical session typically immediately preceding the annual ITWG plenary meeting.