By Jim Kouri
The United States and 57 other nations took part in nuclear terrorism drills in Moscow beginning on Thursday and ending on Saturday, according to U.S. intelligence and Israeli security sources.
International exercises in countering nuclear terrorism were hosted by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), according to sources.
According to a statement on the FSB’s official web site, Operation Guard-2012 had 58 countries participating, as well as observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), The International Police (InterPol), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The hands-on drills are designed to demonstrate anti-terror measures as part of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), said the Law Enforcement Examiner’s U.S. and Israeli sources.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense and its state atomic agency Rosatom is expected to demonstrate the Russian technology for detecting nuclear materials and radioactive substances. The FSB also put together special squads comprised of security personnel from various countries to simulate the aftermath of a successful nuclear terrorism strike.
In 2006, President Vladmir Putin of Russia and President George W. Bush of the United States created the GICNT during the G8 summit which was held in the Russian city, St. Petersburg.
While only 58 nations are participating in Guard-2012, the GICNT is a partnership totaling 85 nations and four official observers from the U.N., IAEA, InterPol, and the UNDOC.
GICNT’s primary goal is to create international cooperation to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism. Officials from the United States and the Russian Federation serve as co-chairs, according to the FSB.
Over the years, the United States has exported special nuclear material, including enriched uranium, and source material such as natural uranium under what’s known as nuclear cooperation agreements.
The United States has 27 such nuclear cooperation agreements for peaceful civilian cooperation. Under the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (AEA), as amended, partners are required to guarantee the physical protection of U.S. nuclear material.