Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act
The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act (H.R. 730), introduced by Representative Adam Schiff, would support efforts to keep our homeland safe from nuclear attack by strengthening our nuclear forensics ability. In the case of an attempted or successful nuclear or radiological attack, rapid attribution is critical. Our government must have the capacity to quickly determine the source of the nuclear material, so that the key decision-makers have the information needed to respond.
Nuclear forensics involves studying the mix of isotopes and other features of nuclear material that give it a particular “signature.” Information in the packaging and accompanying materials could also allow an expert to pinpoint a source. Nuclear forensics activities have historically taken place at a variety of government agencies, but primarily in the Departments of Defense and Energy. The bill would establish the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center within the Department of Homeland Security. The new National Forensics Center would support and coordinate our nation’s nuclear forensics activities.
This bill also asks the President to negotiate agreements with other nations to share information on the makeup of their nuclear materials. These could be bilateral agreements with our allies or multilateral treaties through the International Atomic Energy Agency.