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27 February 2012

International conference aims to boost cooperation in fight against nuclear smuggling

WARSAW, Poland – Preventing and responding to nuclear and radiological threats was the focus of the Law Enforcement Counter Nuclear Smuggling Conference, held from 21-23 February in Warsaw, Poland.

The conference, organized by INTERPOL and the Polish Government and held in preparation for the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit that will take place in Seoul, South Korea in March, gave national representatives an opportunity to discuss issues relating to combating nuclear smuggling. Participants from 27 of the countries that are participating in the upcoming summit learned how to develop and deploy specialized nuclear smuggling teams to mitigate the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radiological material.        

Experts in nuclear terrorism from INTERPOL, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Netherlands Forensics Institute, International Atomic Energy Agency and other national and international agencies delivered presentations on a wide range of nuclear security issues. To enhance the theoretical teaching portion of the conference, the US Department of State organized a practical role-playing exercise and the US Department of Energy exhibited and demonstrated its mobile nuclear detection equipment.

Deputy Chief Commander of the Polish National Police Krzysztof Gajewski underscored the importance of close collaboration among all agencies involved in the fight against nuclear terrorism.

“Working out a plan of national and international cooperation between institutions responsible for the nuclear security of a country is a key issue for our efforts,” Deputy Chief Commander Gajewski said, adding that the conference offered a unique “opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices between national and foreign partners”.

The conference attracted 35 participants from 27 countries, as well as representatives from international agencies working in the field and participating as observers in the Nuclear Security Summit.

To assist international activities targeting nuclear smuggling, INTERPOL created Operation Fail Safe, a new initiative which uses the Organization’s system of notices to track individuals involved in this illicit trade. Operation Fail Safe will allow for law enforcement agencies to better cooperate and coordinate their actions for combating nuclear smuggling worldwide.