To prevent smuggling of nuclear material, the United States seeks a multilayered defense system. The United States has worked with the Russians to develop a first line of defense, securing nuclear sites such as power plants and missile silos.
Work to secure that first line of defense is slated for completion by the end of 2008, according to Tobey.
"But it's also important to have a second line of defense at the border crossings to ensure that any illicit trafficking of nuclear radioactive materials is deterred and detected," Tobey added.
Russian authorities today intercepted technical documents that could have been used to create a weapon of mass destruction, the Interfax news agency reported Friday, citing the Federal Customs Service. The reports underlined the concern that nuclear technology and expertise from Russia might be sold on the black market. The FCS estimated the documents could have fetched $3.6 million.
In 2006, FCS documented 50,000 responses to radiation alarms in Russia, resulting in 480 cases of illicit trafficking of nuclear material. Experts note, however, that in the vast majority of those instances the amounts found were too small to be of use in a weapon.