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Research on the Use of New Tracking Technologies for Category 2 and 3 Radioactive Sealed Sources

Abstract of the journal article published in Journal of Physical Security
August 2018
April 17–19, 2018
Author(s): Raphael Duguay and Courtney Hynes
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


The popularity of tracking devices is growing, and the technology is evolving. This creates new opportunities to enhance the security of the transport supply chain. Canada is considered to be one of the world’s largest suppliers of radioactive sealed sources. If sources were to be lost or stolen, it could present a risk to Canadian safety and security, as the source could be used by malicious actors.

South Korea, Vietnam, France and the United States are representative of the growing number of countries that are developing tracking technologies to be used during the transportation of high risk radioactive sources in industrial radiography and well-logging applications. There are a variety of approaches being used in both the application and the regulation of the emerging technologies. To follow the good practices of both the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and industry, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) Nuclear Security Division (NSD) has developed this research paper to better understand the use of new tracking technologies for devices with radioactive sources and their applicability to the Canadian environment, including the costs, benefits and challenges of implementing these new tracking technologies in industrial radiography and well-logging industries.

As part of this study, two surveys were distributed to Canadian licensees and international counterparts, including regulators, members of the World Institute of Nuclear Security (WINS) and other relevant stakeholders to collect feedback, experiences and general stakeholder opinion. As a whole, this research paper intends to explore lessons learned from the industry perspective using tracking technologies as well as experiences with organizations developing or using new tracking technologies. The study also identifies some good practices for regulators in today’s threat environment.

Key words: tracking technologies, radioactive sources, nuclear safety, nuclear security

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