Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB)
Established in 1995, the ITDB is the IAEA’s information system on incidents of illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities and events involving nuclear and other radioactive material outside of regulatory control. The ITDB is a unique asset helping participating States and selected international organizations to combat illicit nuclear trafficking and strengthen nuclear security. It is also an essential component of the information platform supporting the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Plan 2010–2013.
The ITDB facilitates the exchange of authoritative information on incidents among States. As of 31 December 2012, 120 States participate in the ITDB Programme. In some cases, non-participating States have provided information to the ITDB.
The scope of the ITDB information is broad. It includes, but is not limited to, incidents involving illegal trade and movement of nuclear or other radioactive material across national borders. The scope also covers incidents involving unauthorized acquisition (e.g. through theft), supply, possession, use, transfer or disposal—intentional or unintentional—of nuclear and other radioactive material with or without crossing international borders. The scope also covers unsuccessful or thwarted incidents of the acts detailed above, as well as the loss of material and the discovery of uncontrolled material. States are also encouraged to report incidents involving the intentional offering for sale of benign material that is purported to be nuclear or otherwise radioactive, i.e. scams.
In 2012 a new title was proposed to more accurately reflect the scope of the programme. The proposed title was "Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB): Incidents of nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control". This was agreed by Member States and has subsequently been adopted.
From January 1993 to December, 2012, a total of 2,331 incidents were reported to the ITDB by participating States and some non-participating States. Of the 2,3311 confirmed incidents, 419 involved unauthorized possession and related criminal activities. Incidents included in this category involved illegal possession, movement or attempts to illegally trade in or use nuclear material or radioactive sources. Sixteen incidents in this category involved high enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium. There were 615 incidents reported that involved the theft or loss of nuclear or other radioactive material and a total of 1244 cases involving other unauthorized activities, including the unauthorized disposal of radioactive materials or discovery of uncontrolled sources.
During 2012, 160 incidents were confirmed to the ITDB. Of these, 17 involved possession and related criminal activities, 24 involved theft or loss and 119 involved other unauthorized activities. Two incidents in the period involved HEU in non-criminal but unauthorized activities. There were also three incidents involving IAEA Category 1-3 radioactive sources2, two of which were thefts.
Information reported to the ITDB demonstrates that:
- The availability of unsecured nuclear and other radioactive material persists
- Effective border control measures help to detect illicit trafficking, although effective control is not uniformly implemented at all international border points
- Individuals and groups are prepared to engage in trafficking this material
1 An incident may be categorized in more than one group—for example the theft and subsequent attempted sale of a radioactive source. Accordingly, the sum of the incidents in the groups can differ from than the total number of incidents. In 69 cases, the reported information was not sufficient to determine the category of incident.
2 The ITDB categorizes sealed radioactive sources, in accordance with IAEA Publication RS-G-1.9, from 1-5. The exposure of only a few minutes to a Category 1 source can be fatal. Category 5 sources are potentially the least dangerous; however, even these sources could give rise to doses in excess of the safe limits if not properly controlled.