Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

December 2014 Nuclear Security Brief

Jan. 08, 2015

Prepared by Nickolas Roth

Hacker accesses info on South Korean nuclear plants, seven people detained on suspicion of nuclear smuggling, possible 2015 Congressional hearing on Russian nuclear security, and more.

Security for Nuclear Weapons and Materials 

  • Congress approved the continuation of longstanding nuclear cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom. (12/3/14)
  • During a visit to the United States, Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov discussed continued U.S-Kazakh collaboration on security, safeguards, and disposition of nuclear materials and U.S. support for establishing a regional Nuclear Security Training Center in Kazakhstan. (12/10/14)
  • According to Russian state run media outlet Sputnik, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Deputy Director General Denis Flory said that the creation of a ranking system to measure the efficiency of nuclear infrastructure for IAEA member states “is not helpful or useful for nuclear safety and nuclear security…” (12/11/14)
  • The Arms Control Association reports on the future of Russian involvement in international nuclear security cooperation. (12/14)
  • This Richmond Times Dispatch op-ed argues that business leaders should lead the fight against nuclear terrorism. (12/15/14)
  • In a New York Times op-ed, Wilson Center President Jane Harman expresses concern that “Nuclear security…has been thrown onto the pile of forgotten causes.” (12/18/14)
  • Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) said he plans to hold hearings in 2015 on what Moscow is doing to keep its “nukes” secure. (12/18/14)
  • U.S. Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said: “We need cooperation with Russia and other nations to address new threats – first and foremost the threat of terrorists acquiring a nuclear weapon or nuclear material. They need this cooperation for their own security, as well.” (12/16/14)

Security for Nuclear Power Plants and Facilities

  • According to reports, a hacker was able to access blueprints, floormaps, and additional information for South Korean nuclear plants. North Korea has denied accusations that it was responsible. (12/14) 

Security for Radiological Sources

  • The National Nuclear Security Administration sent a linear accelerator, used for cancer therapy treatment, to the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology in Ukraine. In exchange, Ukraine will dispose of two of aging Cobalt-60 teletherapy units. (12/4/14) 

Nuclear Security Culture

  • Several thefts from the largest nuclear waste disposal zone at Los Alamos National Laboratory raised questions about security and the lack of public notice of the crimes. (12/17/14) 

Best Practices and Training

  • In early December, the IAEA reported that it had completed reviews of nuclear security practices in Belgium and Armenia.  (12/14) 

Stopping Nuclear Smuggling

  • Seven people were detained in Moldova on suspicion of smuggling uranium and mercury in a metal container from Russia. (12/7/14) 

Emergency Response

  • report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that the United States’ emergency plan to respond to improvised nuclear device attacks lacks key program management details. (12/19/14)
For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: December 2014 Nuclear Security Brief.” Nuclear Security Matters, January 8, 2015,