Situated in a difficult neighborhood, New Delhi has laid strong emphasis on both nuclear safety and security for a couple of decades now. Almost three decades of state-sponsored terrorism and insurgencies of varying scale and proportion within India have meant that security of nuclear materials and installations has been a great worry to India’s security and atomic energy establishments. India’s concerns even predate the Western focus on WMD terrorism, which gained prominence only after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Unfortunately, India’s excessive caution and secrecy in the nuclear arena has led the world to assume that India does not pay much attention to this issue or that it has inadequate security, which is far from the truth. Read more about India’s Nuclear Security
More than a decade after its nuclear security recommendations first recognized the threat insiders pose to nuclear facilities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has finally released its guide on nuclear material control and accounting for nuclear security. (This has been in the works for years.) Many people wrongly think that any material under international safeguards has accounting and control good enough for security purposes as well, but there are important differences.
As part of the USA Freedom Act, Congress yesterday passed key legislation that will finally permit U.S. ratification of two important treaties that strengthen international nuclear security. While the Senate gave its advice and consent for ratification of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) years ago, the treaties require parties to criminalize certain acts related to nuclear terrorism, so passage of implementing legislation was needed before the United States could ratify them. Failure to ratify these key treaties on nuclear security and nuclear terrorism before any of the first three nuclear security summits, when the United States was pushing the world to act on nuclear security, has been a substantial embarrassment. Read more about Congress Gives Thumbs Up to International Nuclear Security Conventions
Matthew Bunn, William Tobey, and I have a new op-ed in The Hill’s Congress Blog, “Don’t weaken our defenses against nuclear smuggling.” We wrote it in response to proposed legislation that would prohibit funding for fixed radiation detectors to catch nuclear smugglers – both for installing new ones and even for maintaining the ones U.S. taxpayers have already paid billions to install. We argue: Read more about Bunn, Tobey, and Roth on Nuclear Smuggling
In the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit Communiqué, leaders from more than 50 countries “reaffirm[ed] the fundamental responsibility of States, in accordance with their respective obligations, to maintain at all times effective security of all nuclear and other radioactive materials, including nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control. This responsibility includes taking appropriate measures to prevent non-state actors from obtaining such materials – or related sensitive information or technology – which could be used for malicious purposes, and to prevent acts of terrorism and sabotage.” Read more about Implementing International Mechanisms to Ensure the Security of Military Materials
By Matthew Bunn So what did the nuclear security summit in The Hague accomplish? A good deal. Despite being overshadowed by the crisis in Ukraine and the associated crush of side meetings, the summit in The Hague once again served as a forcing event to cut through bureaucracy and get important decisions made. Just as having friends over for dinner motivates you to clean up your house, going to a major global summit motivates leaders to push their bureaucracies to give them something worthwhile to talk about when they get there. Read more about Progress at The Hague Nuclear Security Summit