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National Security Directorate

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Programs

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One of the gravest threats the United States and the international community face is the possibility that terrorists or rogue nations will acquire nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction (WMD). NNSA, through its Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, works closely with a wide range of international partners, key U.S. federal agencies, the U.S. national laboratories including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and the private sector to detect, secure, and dispose of dangerous nuclear and radiological material, and related WMD technology and expertise.

PNNL contributes to Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation efforts to reduce the global nuclear security risk in three categories: 1) delivering mission-critical research and development; 2) providing technical and nonproliferation policy analysis; and 3) implementing nonproliferation programs worldwide.

PNNL supports the following NNSA DNN programs:

For more information:

(509) 372-6577

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Global Threat Reduction

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) plays an integral role in supporting the mission of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), which is to reduce and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials at civilian sites worldwide. As a principal contributor to the GTRI, PNNL provides critical project management and technical expertise to a variety of key program areas for the Office of Global Threat Reduction. This work draws on PNNL’s expertise in program and project management, physical protection and infrastructure development, regulatory support, vulnerability assessment, international contracting, plutonium chemistry and process technology, and reactor design and operations.

Protect Radiological Materials – PNNL is the principal contributor and lead laboratory for nuclear and radiological site protection activities in more than 60 countries. We operate the GTRI test bed for testing and evaluating physical protection systems and remote monitoring capabilities. Additionally, PNNL leads the development of a worldwide infrastructure strategy to address the long-term security and control of high-risk radioactive and nuclear materials.

Remove Nuclear and Radiological Materials – PNNL is the lead laboratory for emerging reactor disablement and spent fuel removal projects.

Convert Research Reactors – PNNL is the program management integration lead for the High-Performance Research Reactor and Moly-99 Conversion Programs. In addition, PNNL will assist the GTRI with out-of-pile characterization of LEU-Mo fuel using capabilities and our experience base, particularly in PNNL’s Radiochemical Processing Laboratory and 3410 facilities. Characterization activities will be conducted on both unirradiated and irradiated fuel samples.


Keith Freier
Global Threat Reduction
(509) 375-6744

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Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) provides high-impact science and technology to Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development and the nuclear nonproliferation community. PNNL is considered a leader in radiochemistry (actinide separations, process automation, and detection), nuclear materials analysis (trace mass spectroscopic analysis), low-level radiation counting, signatures science (reference data and novel alternative technologies), and post-detonation radionuclide detection.

Proliferation Detection Program: PNNL performs research and development leading up to technologies that advance the United States’ ability to detect foreign proliferation activities. Examples include detecting uranium enrichment, plutonium production, movement of special nuclear materials, nuclear processing, and medical isotopes that could interfere with nuclear detonation detection.

Nuclear Detonation Detection: PNNL is developing the next-generation of radionuclide detection systems that provide the technical base for national and Homeland Security agencies to meet their nonproliferation, counterproliferation, and counterterrorism responsibilities.


Steve Sharpe
Manager, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development
(509) 372-4740

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Nonproliferation and International Security

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) provides technical, policy, and operational support to the Office of Nonproliferation and International Security policy and operations teams. PNNL provides effective stewardship of multiple programs and projects focused on nuclear safeguards, nuclear controls, nuclear verification, and nonproliferation policy development.

Nuclear Safeguards and Security: PNNL plays a key role in the revitalization and sustainment of new safeguards systems, technologies, and nuclear infrastructure worldwide and the advancement of next-generation nonproliferation experts.

Nuclear Controls: PNNL provides dedicated support to programs that help prevent theft, diversion, and spread of WMD-related nuclear materials, technologies, and expertise in proliferation-sensitive regions. PNNL staff lead and support training and confidence building programs, emphasizing the critical importance of export control, nuclear forensics, bio-security, and other key nonproliferation subject areas including scientist-to-scientist cooperation.

Nuclear Verification: PNNL plays a key role in advancing research that will ensure verifiable compliance with international treaties, including the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty for nuclear warhead reduction and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which aims to eliminate the testing of nuclear warheads.

Nonproliferation Policy: PNNL’s scientific and technical capabilities are focused on the advancement of U.S. nonproliferation and arms control policy, including international fuel cycle policy, export control and safeguards policy, and nuclear material cutoff treaties.


Kevin Whattam
Manager, Nonproliferation and International Security
(509) 375-3617

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International Material Protection and Cooperation

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) provides thought leadership, program implementation, and technical subject matter expertise supporting the management of projects, strategic planning, training, infrastructure development, and the overseas installation of material protection control and accounting and radiation detection systems for the Office of International Material Protection and Cooperation. PNNL draws on its expertise in the fields of system engineering, project management, protective forces, physical protection, material control and accounting, radiation detection, physics, and materials science to help execute nuclear nonproliferation and national security projects around the globe. This account includes two of the largest technology deployment projects at PNNL.

Material Protection, Control, and Accounting: PNNL staff participate on multi-disciplinary teams that work collaboratively with partner countries to enhance physical security and nuclear material control and accounting systems, as well as protective force capabilities at international nuclear facilities. PNNL provides technical and project management expertise to help ensure special nuclear materials and weapons are not stolen or diverted for illicit use.

Second Line of Defense Program: This program strengthens the overall capability of partner countries to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in special nuclear and other radiological materials at international border crossings, seaports, airports, and other strategic locations. PNNL is the lead laboratory for providing key project/program management assistance, training, equipment trouble-shooting, acquisition management for innovative radiation scanning platforms, and sustainability support related to the installation of fixed and mobile radiation detection systems worldwide.


David Kostorowski
Manager, International Material Protection and Cooperation
(509) 372-6881

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Fissile Materials Disposition

PNNL provides leadership and technical analysis for the Office of Fissile Materials Disposition’s mission to reduce inventories of surplus fissile materials in a safe, secure, and irreversible manner. This work draws on PNNL expertise in nuclear materials detection and measurement, plutonium chemistry and process technology, criticality safety and permitting, nuclear fuel design and licensing, and fuel manufacturing facilities.

Plutonium Disposition: PNNL is teaming with industry to develop a boiling water reactor mixed oxide fuel design to be fabricated in the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility. In a related project, PNNL analyzes samples from plutonium oxide feed for chemical and isotopic composition. PNNL also is leading the development and deployment of a monitoring and inspection regime to verify the disposition of weapons-grade plutonium in Russia and the United States.


Bill Richmond
Manager, Fissile Materials Disposition
(509) 372-6315

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National Security Directorate

National Security Directorate