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Evaluating and Countering the Insider Threat to the Radioactive Source Supply Chain

by Justin R Kinney
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
PATRAM22 Conference Proceedings
Publication Date
Publisher Location
United States of America
Conference Name
PATRAM 22: The International Symposium on the Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Materials
Conference Location
Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, France
Conference Sponsor
Conference Date

The modern supply chain is a global enterprise and little drove this home more than the global COVID-19 pandemic which sent economic shockwaves throughout the world. Many goods became scarce, as products were delayed, in limited supply, or simply not available. The suddenly diminished supply collided with still high demand and led to greatly increased costs. This was particularly true for the radioactive source supply chain. The pandemic introduced extensive delays for construction projects, slowed the transport of radiological materials to facilities, interrupted treatment deliveries, and impaired the mobility of contractors across the industry. All of these concerns not only adversely affected the economy, but also impacted the safety and security of radiological material, potentially raising national security concerns. The vulnerability of the supply chain, a critical element in an increasingly interconnected world, was exposed. One example that challenged the adaptive capacity of the overall supply chain is the Ever Given container ship, which became stuck in the Suez Canal in 2020. This accident immediately shut down shipments that accounted for 12% of global trade, with long-term impacts estimated to be much larger. Developing the ability to anticipate and react in real-time to sudden changes has quickly become a necessity, particularly in industries that deal with the transport of hazardous material. The reaction to these dramatic incidents was to largely focus attention and resources on protecting the supply chain from external threats. However, the threat to the radioactive material supply chain from insiders intimately involved in the process may be even greater and remains a blind spot that requires increased attention. Recent events revealed the blueprint for targeting and disrupting that supply chain, so the potential for a malicious insider—or a manipulated, unwitting insider—to take advantage of this vulnerability is elevated, creating security concerns for radiological industries. This paper examines and analyzes the potential insider threat to the radioactive source supply chain and recommends steps to take to counter this possibility.