A team of researchers at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University compiled the "Database on Nuclear Smuggling, Theft, and Orphan Radiation Sources" (DSTO) in 2002. At the time, that database was described as the:
"... most reliable currently available data on illicit trafficking of weapons-usable nuclear material"
In 2002, the DSTO database included details of over 700 known incidents of the illicit trafficking of nuclear material between 1991 and 2002.
Since 2004, the database has been operated at the University of Salzburg and in 2010 contained details of over 2440 cases [Lyudmila Zaitseva: Nuclear Trafficking: 20 Years in Review, 2010].
The DSTO database was the primary source used in the 2003 report: Nuclear Smuggling Chains: Suppliers, Intermediaries, and End-Users, by Lyudmila Zaitseva and Kevin Hand of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University. That report presented the results of an attempt to analyse :
"... the supply and demand sides in nuclear smuggling, as well as intermediaries between them"
It identified five main groups of potential 'end users' on the basis of those who had been named as buyers in the known incidents. These groups were:
- Proliferating States
- Terrorist Organisations
- Religious Sects
- Separatist Movements
- Criminal Groups and Individuals
Examples from each group are quoted in the report.
The specific examples of proliferating states that could be identified were
These were not the only states involved. They were simply:
"... the most frequently reported destinations for the smuggled nuclear, radioactive, and nuclear-related dual-use material.
In terms of numbers of incidents:
"Iran and Iraq are both mentioned in 10 cases, “a Middle Eastern country” in 7 cases, and North Korea in 6 cases"
Note, however, that this accounts for just 33 of the 700 incidents in the DSTO database (a little under 5%).
A more recent analysis of the DSTO data was presented in the chapter 'Illicit Trafficking in Radioactive Materials' in the book Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khah and the Rise of Proliferation Networks, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Strategic Dossier, London, 2007. pp 119-138.
In many cases, the authors found that the immediate destination for smuggled material appears to have been Turkey, although this was believed to be a stage on the smuggling route, rather than an end-user.
This report explicitly identified the following countries as destinations for 'smuggled nuclear resources' that had been named in open sources:
- Iran (6 cases)
- Libya (5 cases)
- Pakistan (4 cases)
- North Korea (3 cases)
- 'Middle East' (7 cases)