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Idaho National Laboratory

National Security
Nuclear Nonproliferation

As the U.S. Department of Energy's lead laboratory for nuclear energy research, development, and testing, Idaho National Laboratory has an expansive collection of national expertise and infrastructures which further U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals and objectives. INL applies both operations and scientific expertise to provide materials and process security, signatures and detection, advanced nuclear energy safeguards and policy, and radiological/nuclear training, testing and evaluation solutions and services to the national and international community.

The mission of the INL nuclear nonproliferation division is to protect physical, intellectual, and operational resources, and to detect and prevent the illicit production, acquisition, transport, and use of nuclear materials and technologies and reverse present proliferation while enabling the secure global deployment of nuclear energy systems through excellence in four primary areas:

Materials & Process Security

Expertise and infrastructure applied primarily to the challenge of reversing and preventing proliferation, including the development and deployment of proliferation-resistant nuclear fuels, shutdown of Pu-production capabilities, and securing fissile and radiological materials globally. These activities draw directly from the INL excellence in nuclear fuels development and nuclear facility engineering and operations.

Signatures and Detection

Expertise and infrastructure applied to challenges in identifying and quantifying physical emanations of nuclear materials and processes including active interrogation, fuel cycle signatures, radiological attribution and fissile materials detection. Strong emphasis is given to the application of radiochemical techniques, the practical application of active interrogation systems, and fuel cycle modeling and analyses.

Nuclear Energy Nonproliferation & Safeguards

Expertise and infrastructure applied to challenges of ensuring the robust security and proliferation resistance of present and future nuclear energy systems, nuclear material accountancy techniques and technologies, treaty verification, export control. A major focus is to develop transformational approaches nuclear energy transparency through fissile material accountancy, process security, and the verification of material, facility, and operations declarations.

RDD / Radiological Training

Expertise and infrastructure applied to training consequence management and emergency management teams in radiological fundamentals and equipment response. The INL supports a wide range of U.S., State, and Local Governmental entities in helping assure that their responders are well prepared for radiological emergencies.

A National asset for Nuclear Nonproliferation

Unique Mission / Infrastructure / Expertise

As the nation's lead laboratory for nuclear energy technologies and solutions, and a leading center for national and homeland security technologies, INL leverages its unique mission, infrastructure, and expertise to play a vital role in nuclear nonproliferation. In the early days, INL was known as the National Reactor Testing Station. Since 1949, the Idaho site has been the location of many pioneering developments in the area of nuclear energy. The world's first usable amount of electricity from nuclear energy was generated in Idaho in 1951.

Over the years, 52 mostly first-of-their-kind reactors and fuel cycle technologies were designed, built and operated at INL, creating the largest concentration of reactors and nuclear energy technology in the world. After completing their work, most have since been decommissioned. Today, INL is home to the unparallel Advanced Test Reactor, one of the worlds most consistently updated and capable test reactors, and the much smaller Neutron Radiography Reactor (NRAD). Advanced fuel cycle process technology is operated in Idaho, and much smaller laboratory scale fuel cycle processes. In addition, the INL is home to diverse material resources, and active experimentation with these materials.

Our Materials and Fuels Complex includes several large, multi-purpose hotcells, analytical chemistry labs, reactors, nuclear / radiological materials training ground, secure facilities, process operations, and general-purpose nuclear facilities including multiple testbeds, an expansive, isolated and secure Test Range, and ES&H structures to facilitate training. We also have fully staffed radioanalytical, mass spectrometry, electron microscopy, and nuclear fuels development laboratories, and operations specialists in vulnerability assessments, nuclear facility safeguards, site operations.

INL is also a partner with Idaho State University in operating one of the largest collections of accelerator technology in the country, the Idaho Accelerator Center, located at the Idaho State University campus in Pocatello, Idaho. These resources provide the basis of active interrogation research and development to detect nuclear materials for homeland security and national security purposes.

Additionally, INL is home to more than 3,400 scientists and engineers, many who have expertise and experience as nuclear fuel cycle scientists specializing in radio- and analytic chemistry, nuclear fuels development and analyses, reactor analyses, process technology development, advanced computing, applied accelerator science, radiation detection and measurements. This operating nuclear fuel cycle environment is supported by the necessary process and materials safeguards, including materials controls, protection, and accountancy programs, physical protection and vulnerability analyses. This operational excellence, coupled with scientific inquiry and engineering development, provides a unique national resource for advancing the goals of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear energy.