Security involves the various measures to guard against the consequences of intentional malicious acts. The main concern in the past was theft and diversion of nuclear material but the tragic events of 11 September 2001 in the USA, and other recent incidents, have heightened sensitivities to security in face of terrorist action. Whereas safety of radioactive material transport depends on the integrity of the package and is clearly the responsibility of the consignor, security is mainly the responsibility of the State, which has to set up the necessary regulatory framework.
The materials used in the nuclear fuel cycle industry have traditionally been subject to extensive national protection measures. This responsibility extends to the right of a State to oversee the security measures that are taken during the transport of material originating from or obligated to their country. A range of protection measures has been employed during transport, as deemed appropriate, ranging from the design of the package and the vehicles used as well as security forces, access control, employee screening, satellite tracking of shipments and co-ordination with local and national security authorities.
The objectives of the requirements of physical protection of such materials during transport is assisted by minimising both the total time the material remains in transport and the number and duration of transfers of the material, avoiding the use of regular movement schedules and limiting the advance knowledge of transport information including date of departure, route and destination to designated officials having a need to know that information.