CBRNE Terrorism Prevention Programme
CBRNE terrorism poses a clear threat to public health and safety, national security and economic and political stability on a global level. Accordingly, the prevention of such incidents is of the highest priority.
The threat of CBRNE terrorism is evolving and, with it, the risk of incidents intended to maximize the number of victims on a global scale. We know that terrorist groups are working hard to acquire CBRNE materials and the expertise to use them in their operations.
At INTERPOL, our CBRNE Terrorism Prevention Programme specializes in the prevention of the different aspects of CBRNE.
Radiological and nuclear terrorism
Radiation is all around us and comes in different forms. Only rarely is it dangerous. Nuclear and other radioactive materials, or materials that produce radiation above the normal background rate, are generally well protected.
However, the possibility that terrorists or other criminals might obtain nuclear or other radioactive materials for malicious use has become a real threat to global security and has become more acute due to advances in information technology, financial globalization and the increased use of such materials for lawful purposes.
Generally, nuclear and other radioactive materials used for malicious purposes have been obtained by criminal means, for example smuggled or stolen from nuclear sites and storage facilities.
The consequences of a terrorist group developing the capacity to use nuclear or radiological materials to achieve their goals could be catastrophic.
The world’s law enforcement services must be prepared to confront the threat presented by terrorists who seek to acquire and use nuclear or radioactive materials.
Additionally, nuclear or radioactive materials are appearing with increasing frequency in organized and environmental crimes, such as illegal disposal schemes carried out for profit.
Dangerous levels of radiation could easily spread from one country to the next. As such, the threats of nuclear or radioactive terrorism affect not just individual countries but entire regions. Moreover, such an event would have ramifications for national security and economic and political stability on a global level. Accordingly, the prevention of such incidents are a high priority.
The INTERPOL strategy for facing the threat posed by nuclear or radioactive materials consists of three main pillars:
Intelligence is essential in order for INTERPOL and police services worldwide to tailor their operations to specific threats and to drive prevention programmes.
INTERPOL's Project Geiger focuses on collating and analysing information on illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear or radioactive materials.
The Project Geiger database combines data from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with additional open-source reports and law enforcement data collected through INTERPOL’s channels.
The Project Geiger data is analysed and incorporated into the monthly INTERPOL CBRNE Intelligence Report which covers all aspects of CBRNE terrorism.
Additionally, the Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit contributes data and analysis to the joint INTERPOL/EUROPOL analytical report on nuclear and radiological crime and terrorism in the European Union (Project Rutherford).
INTERPOL's prevention programmes include a planned series of training courses and table top exercises helping member country police services to develop a capacity to prevent and respond to nuclear or radioactive incidents.
Central to this initiative is the concept that no one governmental organization maintains the capability to address this problem alone. Therefore, INTERPOL champions the idea that police, public health, regulatory and policy professionals should come together to meet the threat in a prevention orientated manner.
Should an imminent threat present itself, or should an incident develop, INTERPOL may provide operational support to its member countries through:
- Deploying an Incident Response Team (IRT) with nuclear and radioactive expertise to support law enforcement authorities in their criminal investigations;
- Conducting searches of INTERPOL's databases of nominal data, fingerprints, DNA profiles, and travel documents, upon request;
- Issuing notices, which are used to alert the international law enforcement community to wanted persons, threats to public safety, or a person's criminal activities where there is a possible threat to public safety;
- Providing strategic and tactical analytical expertise, upon request.
In support of the 2012 International Nuclear Security Summit held in Seoul, Republic of South Korea, INTERPOL initiated Operation Fail Safe, which supports the international law enforcement community in tracking the transnational movement of individuals involved in the illicit trafficking of radioactive or nuclear materials.
Nuclear or radioactive terrorism is a global threat with transnational consequences. Thus, international cooperation between nations and between international organizations is a crucial element in INTERPOL’s global strategy.
Of special note is the relationship between INTERPOL and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA works to promote safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technologies. In the area of nuclear and radioactive security, the IAEA helps countries to upgrade nuclear safety and to prepare for and respond to emergencies.
INTERPOL represents the international law enforcement community in its role as an Observer at The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). The GICNT develops partnerships and carries out multilateral activities with the aim of strengthening global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear and radioactive terrorism.
INTERPOL is an observing international organization in the Nuclear Security Summit Process. INTERPOL was part of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Republic of Korea and is preparing for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit to be held in the Hague, the Netherlands.
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT)
- UN Security Council Presidential Statement S/PRST/2012/14 (19 April 2012)
News and media releases
Project Geiger Report Form for National Central Bureaus
Authorized users can report a nuclear or radiological incident or event, such as a theft, loss, detection or seizure in two ways:
- Via the online form. This will be sent directly to the INTERPOL General Secretariat.
- Via the offline form. This can be downloaded and emailed to other agencies and organizations as necessary, as well as the INTERPOL General Secretariat.
All reports must be either copied to or sent by the National Central Bureau.