US flag signifying that this is a United States Federal Government website   Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Security

Nuclear Security

Nuclear Security

The President of the United States has described nuclear terrorism as the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. A radiological or nuclear attack on U.S. soil would result in dire and profound consequences for the country.

Securing the Nation Against Nuclear Terrorism

DHS’ nuclear detection and forensics missions are key elements of the U.S. Government’s wide-ranging approach to preventing attacks by terrorists and potential state sponsors.

DHS also coordinates the U.S. Government’s interagency efforts to develop the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture (GNDA), a framework for detecting (through technical and non-technical means), analyzing, and reporting on nuclear and other radioactive materials that are out of regulatory control.

Improving Detection and Strengthening Partnerships

DHS has made important strides in improving detection technologies, strengthening international partnerships, and increasing the number of law enforcement personnel trained in detection-related equipment. DHS also continues to build upon its substantial expertise in nuclear forensics, the ability to trace nuclear materials and weapons to their source.

  • Radiation Portal Monitors: DHS has worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deploy Radiation Portal Monitors and other radiation detection technologies to seaports, land border ports, and mail facilities around the world.  Today, these systems scan 100 percent of all containerized cargo and personal vehicles arriving in the U.S. through land ports of entry, as well as over 99 percent of arriving sea containers. 
  • Securing the Cities: DHS plans to expand the Securing the Cities (STC) initiative, designed to enhance the nation’s ability to detect and prevent a radiological or nuclear attack in the highest risk cities, to include additional urban areas while continuing to support efforts in existing STC regions.  For example, through STC, approximately 19,450 personnel in the New York City region have been trained in preventive radiological and nuclear detection operations and more than 8,800 pieces of radiological detection equipment have been funded. The program expanded to Los Angeles/Long Beach in 2012 and to the National Capital Region in 2014.

Nuclear Detection and Forensics

A National Radiological and Nuclear Detection Support Capability

Supporting Radiological and Nuclear Detection Standards

Technical Capability Standards

Implementing Detection Capabilities

Advancing Nuclear Detection Technologies

Increasing Nuclear Forensics Capabilities


Breakthrough Detection Technologies

Success Stories

2014 Nuclear Security Summit

2012 Nuclear Security Summit

Last Published Date: August 21, 2015

Was this page helpful?

Back to Top