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.
In thinking about how nuclear security and safeguards can fail, it is useful to keep in mind why security usually fails in general. Most security managers and organizations have a good understanding of the assets they are trying to protect, the resources available to them to protect those assets, and the consequences should security fail (though this is sometimes greatly underestimated). They often have a reasonably accurate understanding of the threats they face—who might attack, why, how, when, and with what goals and resources. What is often lacking is a good understanding of the vulnerabilities—the weaknesses in the security that can be exploited by the threats—and how those vulnerabilities can be mitigated or eliminated. Read more about Why Security Fails
More than two decades of U.S.-Russian cooperation to keep potential nuclear bomb material out of terrorist hands largely came to an end last month, as The Boston Globe reported Monday. Although the dangers have not gone away, Russia is no longer interested in working on most nuclear security projects with the United States— yet another victim of increasing tension between the two countries. The Belfer Center has been centrally involved in these efforts since their inception. Belfer Center experts Graham Allison, Matthew Bunn, and William Tobey offer their thoughts. Read more about Belfer Experts: The End of U.S.–Russian Nuclear Security Cooperation?
By Jonas Siegel Like its predecessor summits, the recently concluded Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague acknowledged the role that nuclear material accounting can play in securing materials from unauthorized use. The emphasis of this and past initiatives, however, has been on improving national laws and regulations—and primarily in states without nuclear weapons. States have yet to develop comprehensive requirements that address the full scope of nuclear risks and that are meant to be adopted by all states—including nuclear weapons states. Read more about How Nuclear Material Accounting Can Contribute to Nuclear Security
By Bonnie D. Jenkins Since the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, Centers of Excellence have been recognized as an important part of the global nuclear security architecture. Centers of Excellence serve as a mechanism for ensuring individuals, whether facility managers, regulatory staff, scientists, engineers, or technicians, are trained on a wide number of important nuclear security issues. These centers focus on the important “human factor” of the global effort to secure nuclear material. Read more about Nuclear Security Centers of Excellence
On April 2nd, 2014 Belfer Center experts Gary Samore and Matthew Bunn hosted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) to discuss nuclear negotiations with Iran, nuclear security issues, and all things weapons of mass destruction. Click here to read their Reddit AMA.
By William H. Tobey Next month, top leaders from over 50 countries will meet at the 2014 Hague Nuclear Security Summit. The leaders’ fundamental goal remains to prevent nuclear terrorism by implementing effective security at all sites that store or process nuclear weapons or fissile materials, or which operate nuclear reactors. Read more about We Are Failing at Nuclear Security