General Lab Information

Nonproliferation Policy and Implementation Group

The Nonproliferation Policy and Implementation (NPI) Group supports nonproliferation policy initiatives of the U.S. government through analysis of international nuclear safeguards and nuclear and radiological security issues and formulation of recommendations to address both policy and implementation challenges. In addition, NPI brings expertise in international nuclear safeguards and security for the development of training programs on a wide variety of topics for international and domestic partners. The group also plays a pivotal role in advancing domestic and international security through assessments of evolving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats and detection capabilities.

NPI supports the safeguards activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA faces many challenges such as limited budgets, increased workload as more and varied nuclear facilities come on-line, greater reliance on safeguards information and advanced technologies, and increased effort to detect undeclared nuclear activities and procurement networks. All of these challenges require innovative safeguards approaches and policy formulations so the IAEA can successfully perform its safeguards verification mandate.

Specific activities include the following.

International Safeguards and Arms Control Support

Support to the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) Office of International Nuclear Safeguards through policy development and systems studies, development and delivery of training courses, and student education and outreach improve the capabilities of the global international safeguards community and the IAEA Department of Safeguards.

Evaluation of safeguards and security challenges for new advanced reactor systems and associated fuel cycle facilities being developed for deployment in the U.S. and abroad.

Annual delivery of a high-demand course for graduate students and early- and mid-career professionals entitled "Nonproliferation and International Nuclear Safeguards in a Changing World," which is available to all interested in the field

Strategic analysis of opportunities for application of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to safeguards.

Preparation and distribution of a comprehensive textbook about the IAEA safeguards system, the challenges it confronts, and its role in the nuclear nonproliferation regime, entitled “Deterring Nuclear Proliferation: The Importance of IAEA Safeguards.”

Engagement with countries that are newcomers to the community of nuclear power users to assist them in understanding and fulfilling their commitments under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Additional Protocol.

Update and maintenance of the Safeguards Knowledge Repository, which provides the safeguards community with a centralized location for housing safeguards-related information.

CBRN Security

International cooperation with partner countries to advance nuclear security interests.

Evaluation of NRC regulatory requirements for domestic safeguards (security) for advanced reactors using HALEU fuels

Conduct survey of researchers who transitioned from gamma-based irradiators to x-ray irradiators, create a focus group of leading researchers and institutions who have made the technology switch, and evaluate published studies using alternative technologies, facilitating a reduction in the need for high-activity radiological sources.

Support to the U.S. Departments of Defense (DOD) and Homeland Security (DHS) in the detection of and response to CBRN threats.

Capacity building with partner countries through the DOE/NNSA Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence to enhance international ability to detect, disrupt, and investigate the smuggling of radiological and nuclear materials.

Market surveys of technological advances in CBRN detection systems to better understand equipment existing limitations and emerging capabilities.

Database management and analysis of raw and refined test and evaluation results.

Undergraduate and graduate internships for nuclear engineering, international nuclear safeguards technology and policy, and nuclear nonproliferation students in BNL’s Nonproliferation and National Security (NN) Department. See Opportunities for Students for more information.