LYON, France – Tackling the illicit trafficking worldwide of nuclear or other radioactive material is the focus of the first-ever global nuclear smuggling conference which INTERPOL is hosting.
Gathering some 270 participants from almost 120 countries, the three-day (27-29 January) conference brings together experts in counter nuclear smuggling from organizations and countries worldwide who will share best practices as well as operational and investigative experiences with law enforcement officials.
The conference will act as a prelude to the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC later this year (31 March and 1 April), with its work contributing to the Action Plan which will be considered by 51 heads of State at the summit attended by INTERPOL.
"Countering nuclear smuggling is a matter of international public safety that calls for an equally comprehensive, coordinated response from key global actors,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
With the work of INTERPOL’s CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) Sub-Directorate part of INTERPOL’s strategy against terrorism, Secretary General Stock added: “As the largest police organization in the world, INTERPOL offers all its member countries with an effective platform to address global security issues, including securing our communities from the global threat that is nuclear smuggling.”
David Huizenga, Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the US Department of Energy, said: “Nuclear material smuggling is a unique crime in that preventing and responding to it requires scientific and technical expertise in addition to good police work.”
Highlighting the threat of Al Qaeda and Da’esh obtaining and using weapons of mass destruction, Mr Huizenga added: “We also know that the threat of nuclear terrorism is real, and as terrorist threats continue to evolve and our adversaries become increasingly sophisticated, our efforts to counter these threats are more critical than ever.”
Scott Roecker, Director for Nuclear Threat Reduction, US National Security Council, said: “Countering nuclear smuggling is a central theme of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. INTERPOL plays a vitally important role in supporting the interdiction of nuclear material outside of regulatory control. This conference is an example of the convening power of INTERPOL in sharing best practices on countering nuclear smuggling.”
“Today the threat of illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials is a reality,” said Alan King, Coordinator of INTERPOL's Radiological Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit. “INTERPOL plays a key role in combating nuclear trafficking through its counter nuclear smuggling strategy and platforms such as this global nuclear smuggling conference. It supports the international Nuclear Security Summit objective of global nuclear security.”
Through its ongoing Operation Fail Safe launched in 2012, INTERPOL supports the international law enforcement community in tracking the transnational movement of individuals involved in the illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive materials.