PROTECTION, CONTROL, AND ACCOUNTING OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS
INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGES AND NATIONAL PROGRAMS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
Support for this project was provided by the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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COMMITTEE ON BEST PRACTICES FOR NUCLEAR MATERIAL PROTECTION, CONTROL, AND ACCOUNTING
John P. Holdren, Chair,
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Wolfgang K.H. Panofsky, Vice-chair,
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University
William F. Burns, Major General
(U.S. Army, ret.)
Richard L. Garwin,
Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM Corporation
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
*Siegfried S. Hecker,
Los Alamos National Laboratory
**William C. Potter,
Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
Frank von Hippel,
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
Jo L. Husbands, Director,
Committee on International Security and Arms Control
Christopher Eldridge, Program Officer; Rapporteur
Micah D. Lowenthal, Senior Program Officer
La’Faye Lewis-Oliver, Financial Associate
Kate Giamis, Program Assistant
Preface and Acknowledgments
The protection, control, and accounting of nuclear materials at civilian nuclear facilities are matters of great importance from several perspectives. Nuclear materials must be kept secure so that they are not removed from a facility illegally. If such materials are stolen or sold on the black market, they could potentially be used in a weapon by terrorists or other non-state actors. Further, nuclear materials should be handled safely so that they do not endanger the health of facility workers or local residents. It is also important to manage the use of nuclear materials as efficiently as possible to minimize their impact on the natural environment.
The scientists, engineers, and managers who oversee nuclear materials protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) at civilian nuclear facilities have primary responsibility for ensuring that these materials are safe and secure. Such MPC&A practitioners around the world face many common challenges. To help them respond to these challenges, the National Academies and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) convened an international workshop on MPC&A practice at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September 2003. The pages that follow summarize the presentations and discussions of the workshop. Both the workshop and the report were made possible through the generous support of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
The statement of task for this project was as follows:
The U.S. National Academies and the Russian Academy of Sciences will convene a workshop for sharing best practices in nuclear materials protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A), including the status and application of
remote monitoring technologies, personnel issues, and both national and international safeguards worldwide. The goals of the workshop will be to identify areas in which the United States and Russia can promote best practices in MPC&A globally and expand U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation. The papers presented in the workshop and the outcomes of workshop discussions will form the basis of a workshop report.
As the committee members began planning the event, they realized that the goal of compiling a list of best practices was too lofty for the two-day workshop envisioned by those who originated the project. Therefore, the workshop did not attempt to provide a comprehensive assessment of MPC&A practice. Instead, the committee narrowed the focus of the project, endeavoring to lay the ground-work for further assessments by inviting MPC&A experts from the United States and Russia, as the two leading nuclear weapons states, and from a broadly-defined geographical region: central, south, and east Asia. This provided workshop participants with a range of perspectives on MPC&A, demonstrating the importance of sharing ideas about MPC&A practice and underscoring the point that different governments and cultures approach MPC&A in different ways. Further, the committee believed it important to examine a number of key policy issues in the course of the workshop, again as part of setting the stage for future efforts. As a result, a range of technical and political issues were explored during the workshop.
The workshop presentations and discussions revolved around a central argument that the urgent threats of nuclear terrorism and proliferation continue to outpace society’s responses to them. Individual presentations ranged over a variety of broad and specific topics, but they all addressed at least one of the following questions: What is the nature of the threats humanity faces from nuclear terrorism and proliferation? What has been done to address those threats? What should be done in the future to mitigate them? Over the course of the two days, it became clear that events such as this workshop, designed to facilitate sharing the benefits of research and experience among experts, can help to narrow the gap between threat and response.
As the report of an international workshop, this document represents the culmination of a great deal of effort by many people. The National Academies’ Committee on Best Practices for Nuclear Material Protection, Control, and Accounting, chaired by Professor John P. Holdren of Harvard University, and the RAS’ Committee on U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation, chaired by Academician Nikolai P. Laverov of the RAS, had general responsibility for overseeing the workshop planning process. At the request of the committee chairs, members of the two committees formed a small working group that took primary responsibility for planning and holding the workshop. The American co-chair of that group was Professor William C. Potter of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies. The author
is particularly grateful to Prof. Potter, whose patient, energetic, and creative leadership was fundamental to the workshop’s success. Dr. Siegfried Hecker of Los Alamos National Laboratories supplied crucial help in planning the event as the other member of the American committee to participate in the working group. The Russian co-chair, Academician Nikolai N. Ponomarev-Stepnoi of the Russian Scientific Center “Kurchatov Institute” was also instrumental in planning the workshop. His colleague Academician Ashot A. Sarkisov served with skill and charm as the Russian co-chair during the event itself.
Several individuals who were not committee members were also extremely helpful in planning the workshop and producing this report. Mark Mullen of Los Alamos National Laboratories was especially helpful during the process of generating the workshop agenda and as a participant in the workshop discussions. Dr. Tariq Rauf, Ms. Elena Bergo, and their colleagues on the staff of the IAEA generously and effectively hosted the meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. The author also wishes to express his deep appreciation to his colleagues at the National Academies, Ms. Rita Guenther, Dr. Jo Husbands, and Dr. Micah Lowenthal, for their participation in the project and their extremely helpful editorial comments.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
I wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: James Goodby, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Nikolai Khlebnikov, IAEA; Richard Meserve, Carnegie Institution of Washington; Dmitry Nikonov, University of Georgia; Gennady Pshakin, Institute of Physics and Power Engineering; and Carlton Stoiber, Consultant.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the report before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author and the institution.