EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2016 Special Session 10
Chair: Irma Arguello, Chair, NPSGlobal 
Yongsoo Hwang, Principal Researcher, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute 
Reshmi Kazi, Associate Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses 
Matthew Cottee, Research Associate, Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme, IISS

Provisional transcript

Irma Arguello, Chair, NPSGlobal

Welcome to everyone, thanks for being here. I am Irma Arguello and it is a pleasure for me to chair this session, which will explore what next after the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process. First, let me introduce our distinguished speakers. On my right, Yongsoo Hwang, Principal Researcher at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. On my left, Reshmi Kazi, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, from India; and Matthew Cottee, Research Associate of the Non‑Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Before giving the floor to our colleagues, I will take five minutes to share with you some background about nuclear security in the post‑summit era. When we talk about nuclear security, we mean ways to counter the threat of nuclear terrorism and other criminal acts involving nuclear assets. For example, the smuggling of sensitive materials like hydrogen‑rich uranium and separated plutonium; these are materials that could be used to build a nuclear weapon. These threats have different expression. For example, the detonation of a small‑yield improvised fission bomb in a large capital city, a radiological dispersal device, the so‑called ‘dirty bomb’, a conventional or cyber-attack on a nuclear facility, for instance, a nuclear power plant, and finally – and why not – the theft of a nuclear weapon from vulnerable storage and a potential attempt to detonate it.

The dismantlement of a nuclear smuggling network last year in Moldova shows there is an illicit market alive for nuclear weapon useable materials and, therefore, that there are sellers in search of potential buyers. It also highlights the dangers posed by vulnerable nuclear sites in many locations around the world from which such materials can be obtained, currently in 24 countries. The report, entitled Terror Unleashed[?], sponsored by my organisation, NPSGlobal Foundation, that we will launch during the nuclear security conference next month in Vienna shows in black and white the damage that a terrorist nuclear detonation could cause, not only in the target country but globally. For example, it estimates negative impacts in the global economy at a level at least equivalent to the 2008 global financial crisis, the worst after the Second World War. Multiple layers of international systems will be strongly affected, including things so essential as the balance of regional and global power. In the worst scenario, the report shows that the crisis could even lead to the potential use of nuclear weapons by states.

The immediate conclusion is that prevention of nuclear terrorism is the only acceptable way forward. Such attack must never happen. Whilst the international community has been pursuing significant efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism and moreover since the launch of the NSS’s process in 2010, there is broad consensus that the current international security regime falls short to cope with the dimension of the threat. Therefore, the need for drastic improvement has been a central part of government discussions during this year and the expert community has made a relevant contribution to such debate.

Shortfalls of the regime are very well identified now and I am sure my colleagues will address this during their presentations. The high‑level political process of the NSS, which came to an end last April after six years and four summits, has been successful in making nuclear terrorism a relevant issue on the global political agenda, but it has also raised some concerns about its lack of comprehensiveness and its capability to enhance the current offer to prevent nuclear terrorism.

It is evident that there are many challenges ahead to consolidate the effort done and to set a successful legacy of the summits. In the post‑summit era, a key question is how to define and implement a roadmap for further improvement of the current nuclear security regime, but there are many more questions. We would like to address some of these issues during our presentations and in the Q&A session afterwards.

I will now give the floor to Yongsoo Hwang, Principal Researcher at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute.

Yongsoo Hwang, Principal Researcher, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute

Thank you. My name is Yongsoo Hwang, from South Korea. I used to work as director general for our regulatory body for nuclear security, but basically I am a researcher for nuclear chemical engineering. I started my career around 35 years ago in the United States and for the last 20 years I have never talked about anything to do with nuclear without a PowerPoint or Keynote slide, so today I will have some problems because I cannot rely on PowerPoint slides anymore. That was the order from Matt yesterday.

I would like to ask a fundamental question, namely are we now living in a better and more secure world due to NSS meetings? Probably yes and probably no. We are still faced with a lot of threats throughout global societies. As mentioned by our chair, four successful NSS meetings created a high‑level approach causing the global platform to share lessons by way of the centre of excellence (COE) and some sort of gift basket in our region. We like the outcome of the centre of excellence, but there are some pros and cons for the future.

As you know, we have talked a lot about CBRN activities and cyber security issues throughout this conference here in Brussels, but we still need a strong measure against CBRN along with the cyber security issues. In addition, we talked a lot about Southern nations’ terrorist activities throughout the NSS, but we could not talk about the problems in South Asia and the Korean peninsula, about the potential problem of nuclear power development. That is the issue for real society, especially in East Asia at this moment. So, before I say something about post‑NSS, I would like to summarise what happened between 2010 and 2016.

Of course, we had the Fukushima event and we had a lot of stress tests to secure the safety of the nuclear power operations and we have a lot of cooperative opportunities to deal with Japanese colleagues. Sometimes we have difficulty, sometimes we have good agreement. The Fukushima event caused a decline in nuclear energy in Western society, but from the beginning of this year, especially, we have a boom in nuclear energy in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and we also have a lot of newcomers in the Middle East. That creates much concern about nuclear security. In addition, as you already know, there is a strong increase in tension between the US and the Russian Federation and, in our region, we have a strong tension between the PRC and the rest of our neighbouring societies, but we have had some success in Iran. I used to work for the then director general el‑Baradei[?] between 2004 and 2005 and I remember that we could not achieve a good success at that time, but last year we had some good success through the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It is a good moment to see the success throughout the negotiation and I hope that we can have similar success to deal with the problem of the North Korean issue.

We heard a lot of talk about CBRN terrorist activities in combination with cyber security and ENPR[?] tests and we are dealing with a so‑called hybrid event: the combination of a manmade event, such as terrorist activities, cyber security, probably along with a natural event. What if we had some kind of terrorist activity during an earthquake? It might create a big disaster and we are taking this kind of potential threat very seriously. In addition, we are now facing developments in ICT. Information and communications technology is booming and it creates opportunities for more security issues.

These are the issues that we should cover in the next phase of the global security regime. In East Asia, Japan, China and Korea have established centres of excellence and this is a good opportunity to share our lessons with newcomers about our activities. However, I have to tell you something. I used to work for the centre of excellence in South Korea, as a director general and, to me, we need some kind of global and regional approach. We are just copying each other’s functions. We are doing the same thing as the Japanese and Chinese and we need a good mechanism to share our experience and to split the responsibility, so that we can effectively operate our own centre of excellence. It is not very easy at all. We had a lot of discussions with Chinese and Japanese colleagues and it is very difficult to have a common background for full cooperation. We suggested a good gift basket: for Vietnam[?], we introduced a mechanism to monitor the transportation of radio isotope material and we would like to extend that kind of gift basket to the newcomers. As you know, South Korea hosted the last Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Seoul and we would like to tighten the nuclear security group system, because we are faced with a lot of uncertainty in North Korea, which is probably still relying on the black market to smuggle technology and information. We would like to tighten the system, but it is not very easy at all. We would also like to talk about physical protection and cyber security along with so‑called regulatory cooperation among China, Japan and Korea and this is not easy at all. I used to serve as a member of the TRM (Trilateral Meeting for Regulatory Bodies[?]) in Korea, Japan and China and it created a lot of detailed problems, so even though we started joint cooperation to deal with post‑Fukushima events, it was not easy at all.

In addition, in East Asia, all three countries are developing their own technology for advanced nuclear fuel cycles. For example, even though Japan abandoned its Monju programme, it is working on next generation tests of reactor programmes. China is spending a lot of money to develop its first‑generation nuclear power system and South Korea is working very hard to develop pyro‑processing technology. This has created some tension and we would like to introduce a stricter manner to monitor all the research and development programmes throughout the region.

We are also working very hard on nuclear forensic issues. We are a member of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), focusing on detection and forensic assessment technology to prevent future terrorist activities.

We need a new approach based upon experience from the four NSS meetings. First, we should disseminate a security culture, but this is not so easy to do to everybody and we need a lot of trial and error on how to disseminate a security culture. Technologically, we should find a better way to integrate the three Ss – security, safety and safeguard‑ability – into one piece, so that we can tightly secure our future nuclear facilities against any kind of physical activity. We have to develop a grassroots approach to strengthen security principles among the older operators, to prevent any kind of insider threat. We should deal with the real issue from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) case, otherwise people might wonder what we are doing. We are spending a lot of money and effort to tighten global nuclear security, but if we cannot solve the problem from the DPRK what is the point? It is not an easy matter. I have studied the DPRK programme for the last 25 years and it has a very consistent programme to further develop a nuclear bomb and delivery system. That is the reason why I joined this European consortium meeting here, to tell you that we need strong support from the European Union to stop any further action from the DPRK.

These are the things that should be discussed in the future, either in the form of the International Atomic Energy Authority’s (IAEA) leading multilateral approach or any kind of bilateral, trilateral, regional or international norms. We need some kind of defence‑intense approach, as mentioned by our chair, so we have to develop all kinds of mechanisms to strengthen global nuclear security and this conference acts as a good opportunity to talk about what we can do to this end.

Thank you.

Reshmi Kazi, Associate Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

My heartfelt gratitude to IISS and the EU Consortium for giving me this opportunity to present my work before you, distinguished audience. I will begin by saying that I could not agree more with what the previous speaker said and he emphasised that there is a need for a mechanism where we can show, in terms of centres of excellence, at a regional and global level, the importance of our nuclear security and how we can bring it about. A mechanism is required and probably centres of excellence is the most viable instrument through which this objective can be achieved. Precisely on that line, I am going to speak on India’s centre of excellence, which is the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) and what it is doing at present. As the previous speaker said, centres of excellence should be doing certain activities and I can say with some pride that the GCNEP is already doing much of these activities.

Before I begin, as the chair also pointed out on the Moldova case, there is a viable nuclear black market going on and I would like to draw your attention to the IAEA Incident and Illicit Trafficking Database (IITD). I have figures from 2007 to the latest data and, unfortunately, the figures in all the four important categories have been rising, which emphasises that there is a nuclear black market that is still working and looking for potential weak links in this chain of nuclear security whereby they can procure these dangerous materials. I have the figures with me, so if anybody is interested I can share them with you and, of course, they are available online.

I will begin by saying that when the Nuclear Security Summit process ended in 2016 it was a watershed moment. Although the summit process has ended, it established the Contact Group, which is supposed to take the whole agenda of nuclear security forward. The objective of nuclear security is to develop effective and sustainable global nuclear security. Of course, much was accomplished to improve and upgrade nuclear security through the four summits, but there remains much to be done since the threat is undiminished, primarily because there are certain wrong people still nursing the malicious agenda and desire of acquiring nuclear and radiological material. Of course, as reports have indicated, there has been the demise of al‑Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, but new terrorist organisations have emerged, like ISIS, with heighten nuclear risks and even threats. Even though there is no linkage between ISIS and nuclear threats as such, there are certain credible sources, some information whereby we cannot be complacent, which is the biggest threat when we are dealing with the issue of nuclear security. What can be done? Newer thinking is required and this newer thinking, I believe, can be achieved through the process of centres of excellence.

A centre of excellence is defined as an efficient mechanism for promoting nuclear security through regional and national mechanisms.  It is an integral aspect of the global security architecture for disseminating awareness about the importance of strengthening nuclear security. It is a dedicated institution that imparts training, which is very important. The primary emphasis of a centre of excellence should be on training. The importance of training needs to be emphasised at each and every level within a centre of excellence and this is exactly what the GCNEP does. There is training at various levels, whether it is physical protection, material accountancy, export controls, nuclear forensics, insider threats and even emergency response mechanisms.

With the objective of laying the foundation for an improved nuclear security culture, the GCNEP was announced in 2010 by our former prime minister.  Its primary mission is to conduct research, design and development of nuclear systems that are intrinsically safe, secure, proliferation‑resistant and also sustainable, with the aim of strengthening nuclear security in the future. The GCNEP is designed to be a state of the art centre of excellence principled upon international collaboration with the IAEA and other interested foreign partners. It has five schools: advanced nuclear energy system studies, nuclear security studies, nuclear material characterisation studies, radiological safety studies and studies on the application of radioisotopes and radiation techniques. The school for nuclear security studies is under construction, with on‑campus classes supposed to begin around this time next year. Even though the site is under construction, off‑campus classes have started and I have been privileged to attend a few such courses myself.

As I said, the GCNEP is a dedicated research and development component under the aegis of the Department of Energy (DOE). Being a COE, the primary aim of the GCNEP is to be an operative forum focusing India’s advancement in the field of nuclear safety, security and improved nuclear and radiation technologies. It has shouldered the responsibility to develop capacity‑building in technology, training, which is very important, and also human resource, so far as the person[?] reliability system is concerned for a robust nuclear security system.

The mandate of the GCNEP includes research by Indian and visiting international scientists, the training of Indian and international participants, hosting international conferences and workshops – as I said, I have attended a few – and group discussions by experts on topical issues. Its mandate also includes designing and conducting nuclear security courses in collaboration with countries that uphold the importance of nuclear security. This collaboration is also with the IAEA.

I mentioned the importance of training. A qualifying edge of the GCNEP is visible in the form of its outreach programme, which actively showcases India’s technological advancement in several areas, like physical protection of its materials as well as its nuclear facilities, prevention and response to radiological threats, nuclear material accounting and protective measures against insider threats. It also has a public awareness programme on DOE technologies for rural India. Under the guidance of the DOE, the outreach cell has been regularly conducting courses, symposia and workshops on several aspects related to nuclear security. The course has, so far, benefited participants from various security establishments by assisting in capacity‑building through relevant training. These participants have been from within the country and outside.

The GCNEP has broadened its horizon by developing nuclear security practices, as I pointed out, on security issues at the international level as well. In that spirit, it has undertaken collaborative research and detailed studies from time to time. In October 2004, India and the IAEA conducted a regional training course on the physical protection of nuclear installations in Mumbai. Such courses are arranged in the form of a module. The number of lectures may, of course, vary, but this training course had 16 lectures and two working group sessions. One working group presentation session was attended by the course participants. There was also a plenary session and a field visit to Kakrapar Atomic Power Station. This course was attended by 25 participants, including 13 foreign students and 12 Indian.

There are several such courses that have been held: in 2012, India collaborated with the IAEA and conducted an international workshop on the safety of multi‑unit nuclear power plant sites against external natural hazards in Mumbai. There were additional courses conducted on nuclear forensics. I attended one such workshop; it spanned four days, it had about 12 lectures and a demonstration lecture series where detection architectures were demonstrated to the participants, who were from various establishments, nuclear, academia, think tanks and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). There was a variety of participants who were invited for such courses. We have just had an Indo‑UK workshop on nuclear security culture by the GCNEP and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which was done in collaboration with participants from King’s College in the United Kingdom. They circulate course materials like this. There are important topics discussed here and it is very important, because it raises a level of awareness about what India is doing not only within the country but also for external participants.

I can go on and on, but there is a time limit, so I will end by saying that centres of excellence are important vehicles for collaboration, not only amongst the stakeholders within a country but also at a regional and global level. A major advantage of a COE is that it is apolitical in nature. So far, there have been no political strings attached. Nations can collaborate at a bilateral or regional level without emphasis of any third party, which happens generally in political situations. There can be effective collaboration among COEs at a regional level, probably India and Pakistan, a lot of questions arise on that, but of course there are a lot of sticky issues. Both nations have to work very hard to effect such a partnership, because nuclear security is an important issue that affects our part of the world, South Asia, very much. Whether it can be done at a regional level or at a trilateral level by including China also in this kind of multilateral forum is something that needs to be considered. We have had nuclear security summits at a global level and perhaps the centres of excellence can pave the way to this process being undertaken at a regional level. As a visiting fellow at the Stimson Centre presently, I am co‑authoring a project of this nature and I look forward to your inputs to carry forward my work.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Matthew Cottee, Research Associate, Non‑Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme, IISS

Apologies to my other two panellists for denying them access to PowerPoint. It is always a controversial thing when I email people to tell them that, but just to remind you that transcripts of all the sessions will be available on the IISS website.

The eagle eyed among you may realise that I was originally chairing this session, but I am now speaking, so thanks to Irma for helping out and please bear with me.

To provide a very brief overview, nuclear security has obviously been a key issue on the global political agenda since the first security summit in Washington in 2010, an initiative very much of the White House and Obama, with further summits in Seoul, The Hague and then back in the US capital again. The summits raised broad awareness of the issue and focused high‑level attention on national nuclear security efforts, but as this process has now concluded, new avenues for discussion and negotiation are to be adopted offering new opportunities as well as several potential challenges. One initial point to highlight is that nuclear security existed before the summit process and it will exist after. The issue is now trying to channel the momentum that was generated by the process elsewhere, with five central institutions or organisations identified to continue the job started by the summits. Those five being the UN, the IAEA, Interpol, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (or the GP for short). The different goals, memberships and internal dynamics of each organisation present a complex policymaking environment for the nuclear security community.

The NSS process was envisaged as a game‑changer and, to a certain extent, it was, designed to bypass some of the traditional politics of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty (NPT) process. It was used as a forcing event to channel the power of selected world leaders to push the agenda. Now, post the summit process, we are back to an iterative and evolving process, maybe even a step by step process, if you will, if we want to dare use that kind of language in the nuclear security environment. I am going to speak very briefly about two specific issues and my words will be in two separate sections. The first is on a thorny issue that the Nuclear Security Summit process failed to address and that is the security of military materials or all material security. I will then switch the focus to briefly look at the role of the EU and what it can do in coming years. Two small issues that I will try to address as comprehensively as I can.

The first is military materials and this is based on some of the work that Mark Fitzpatrick and I did along with colleagues at Capenhurst Nuclear Services (CNS) and the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non‑Proliferation (VCDNP). We produced this report. This is the only copy I have with me, unfortunately, and it is a bit tattered and dogeared, but it is available via the IISS website and the CNS website if you are interested and there will be physical copies available in Vienna in December at the nuclear security conference there. This was to address the fact that roughly four‑fifths of the weapons‑useable nuclear materials in the world are in non‑civilian programmes. That is not only as the explosive core in active or reserve nuclear weapons but also fuel in naval and military research reactors, highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium at production sites, in storage or declared excess to military use but not yet transferred to other programmes or eliminated. Coordinated global efforts to enhance the security of nuclear materials have been almost exclusively concentrated on 17% of such nuclear materials in the civilian sector.

The security of materials can vary depending on whether they are used in civil or military sectors. Whilst civil has the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities (CPPNMNF) and IAEA Information Circular 225 revision five outlines guidelines for security, no such explicit guidelines exist on how to secure materials outside of the civilian sector. Nor is there a comprehensive public knowledge about the state of security of such materials in all countries with nuclear weapons programmes. There is a widely held assumption that non‑civilian nuclear materials are well protected, simply because they are under military control. That is an assumption that could well be correct, but the lack of transparency and the number of troubling security breaches at nuclear facilities over the years lead us to question that assumption. Think about the number of insider threats, peaceful incursions, thefts, armed attacks and, most recently, linking back to our previous plenary session, things to do with overflights of drones or, indeed, cyber attacks and hacking.

I will not go into much detail. Instead, I encourage you to go and read our report, but just as an overview of our recommendations based on the research, which involved interviews with numerous experts and military officials, the recommendations are broken down into three sections. The first is advancing efforts in existing multilateral forums, effectively trying to do the best with what we have. The second is extending to all nuclear materials existing mechanisms that currently apply only to civilian materials. The third is to establish new forums to make use of existing technical or working‑level efforts to advance best practice of norms.

These three efforts are, in turn, categorised into four groups. The first is minimisation, elimination and consolidation; things like plutonium disposition agreements, which obviously have been in the news recently, the 2018 HEU minimisation conference in Norway, or reactor conversion. The second is voluntary application of at least civilian standards to all nuclear materials; here thinking about Information Circular 869 and 225, revision five. The third is exercises, training and sharing of best practices; here thinking about the global initiative Global Partnership and the centres of excellence mentioned by the two previous speakers. The last is to do with transparency and reporting; here, we are thinking about reporting at 1540 level, reporting at the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) review conference, ad hoc meetings, that kind of thing. Also, to mention that the US and UK have started to do this, both at 1540 and declarations at the Nuclear Plant Chemistry (NPC) review conference. In addition, another interesting report released this year by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the US on the stockpile, stewardship and management plan goes into a lot of detail about what the US is doing to protect nuclear materials from the military sector.

I understand that none of this will be easy, but it is an issue that generally receives broad support even from certain Permanent Five (P5) states, as I mentioned. The question is more how we go about doing it. Again, this will be a very slow process, but it is something that should be considered in the wake of the NSS process. I am happy to discuss that in more detail in the Q&A.

The second section, as I mentioned, is the role of the EU and the potential leadership that it can demonstrate in this field. Since we are in Brussels, I thought it was apt, although I realise that there may be some controversy with my nationality as a Brit in trying to talk about EU leadership. A quick overview about what has been done by the EU and what it could do to sustain momentum.

Nuclear energy has long been part of European energy policy and the EU has, therefore, acquired a large amount of experience in the fields of safeguards, safety and security. It has made demonstrable contributions in several inter‑related areas linked specifically to the enhancement of border monitoring and the combatting of illicit trafficking. Think about the Border Monitoring Working Group (BMWG), which is an initiative between the EU, the US and the IAEA. The Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group (ITWG), which engages key stakeholders in the area of nuclear forensics and is a world‑leading facility; the group is co‑chaired by the EU’s Joint Research Centre. The joint US‑EU project on Illicit Trafficking Radiation Assessment Programme (ITRAP+10) tested and validated the performance of commercially available radiation detection equipment against operational requirements to border entry points. The training programmes that the EU has developed for CBRN first responders likely to be on the frontline of an incident and national experts in detection and identification of nuclear materials. The EU has clearly played an important role in developing and advancing the technical focus in the nuclear security arena.

It has also done a lot in terms of outreach and this can be seen in the number of projects and the geographical diversity of such efforts. A border monitoring project in Southeast Asia, capacity‑building assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), cooperation on border monitoring in Tajikistan, €4 million towards combatting illicit trafficking in nuclear material in the Mediterranean Basin. Similarly, from 2007‑2016, the EU has provided the IAEA with more than €180 million worth of support to its activities codified in a series of Council decisions.

Much has been done and much is likely to continue. The opportunities for cooperation with partners are increasing, but resources are finite and the EU’s maybe updated results‑oriented focus means that it should identify key projects in a reduced number of locations. It should perhaps streamline how it supports nuclear security, prioritise states or projects and maybe adopt certain geographical foci, such as the EU neighbourhood or, potentially, the Black Sea region, something like that.

Those are two very brief overviews of two issues that I thought are interesting for the future sustainability of nuclear security. Just briefly, to conclude, the end of the Nuclear Security Summit process means that there is now a risk of nuclear security efforts losing some of the momentum generated over the past six years. The four summits certainly served as focusing events and encouraged world leaders to consider what they could provide in the form of so‑called house gifts or gift baskets (public commitments to improving nuclear security). While international summitry will continue in the form of a large event hosted by the IAEA in December this year and beyond, discussions are likely to become technocratic in nature and representation will be broader; that is again something we can discuss in the Q    &A. Wider engagement is a good thing and addresses one of the chief criticisms of the NSS process, but there is now a risk that substantive discussion of nuclear security will be diluted as more diverse concerns will need to be addressed, so consensus agreement on policies will likely become more of a challenge.

On that positive note, I will end. Thank you.

Irma Arguello

Thank you very much, Matthew. Our three panellists pointed out a very important thing, namely how to integrate those countries that did not participate in the summit process. Their three speeches converged to the same point, that is, nuclear security should be a global effort and not an effort of the 53 countries that participated in the summit process.

Now we will open the floor for questions. Please introduce yourself and say to which speaker your question is addressed.

Cristina Varriale, Research Analyst, Royal United Services Institute, London

My question is for everybody on the panel. To what extent do you think we need to overhype the threat to keep an impetus, whether that is political impetus or the impetus for funding for this kind of initiative? How do you balance not being alarmist with making sure that there is a driving force behind the process? Tagged onto the end of that, do we need to broaden the process to be more inclusive? I am thinking do we need to also include trafficking initiatives, social initiatives, public buy in, financial crime? Does it need to be cross‑issue to make sure that nuclear security is comprehensive?

Andrey Baklitskiy, Director, Russia and Nuclear Non‑Proliferation Programme, PIR Centre

For a panel on ‘what next after the NSS process?’ we heard remarkably few things about the institutionalisation of this new process, if we are talking about the process. The summits are over and one thing that I would like to hear from this session is the lessons learned from this process, not only what went well but some of the things that did not go terribly well. There is obviously a limit, as we have seen, of things you can do with a coalition of the willing and with all the talk about gift baskets and individual countries’ contributions, the whole international community should be engaged in this thing. The ministerial conferences or the IAEA, one of those will be happening in December, but it is not the first one, we have already had ministerial conferences on nuclear security before. These are going to be the next venue for such things and there is a lot of talk about how they could be organised. Now the plan is that there will be one every three years, maybe that is quite a long time and we might want to have them every two years. There is also talk that perhaps we should do something about nuclear security at the general conference and there is a big question on how you reconcile the remains of the NSS process, which continue with the working groups, and plans that have been drawn on the latest Nuclear Security Summit vis‑à‑vis the IAEA track. Please could the panel comment on some or all of those issues. Thank you.

Dr Bernd Kubbig, Project Director, PRIF/HSFK; Adjunct Professor, Goethe University

To follow up on this, it is good to know that regional centres of excellence are important, but again they are part of a broader problem along the lines that Andrey just sketched. How can one institutionalise those efforts? You mentioned the Contact Group; what does this mean in concrete terms? In addition, it would be important to get some information on how you could interact with efforts and legislation that already exists, for example, UN Resolution 1540. Are there any efforts of close interaction and coordination to optimise the process, which has been sketched fairly vaguely by you? Thank you so much nevertheless for very instructive talks.

Dr Christopher Watson, Chair, British Pugwash Group

This is a subject that has exercised British Pugwash for several decades now and we have attempted to do what has been conspicuously absent in the discussion today: to look at the implications of classification of the information about this whole subject. It goes without saying that people who seriously want to get hold of special nuclear materials are people who make it their business to get hold of information that is not in the public domain. If you are going to have discussions among experts, you will have to decide which experts you are going to invite and what information you are going to share among all those present, for fear that some of those will turn out not to be the innocent, altruistic creatures that they present themselves as.

British Pugwash’s approach to this was particularly focused when the question arose as to what Britain should do with its stock of approximately 100kg of separated plutonium. There are, broadly, three things that could be done with it. One is nothing. In other words, just to continue to protect it as best we can against such attacks as we think to be likely. The second is, as quickly as possible, to convert it into useable nuclear fuel and burn it up in reactors. The third is to bury it in a deep hole in the ground and hope that nobody is ever going to dig it up again. We appointed a small panel of experts to look at each of those three alternatives to see what could be done, taking account of not only the information that is obviously in the public domain but the rather considerable body of information that we possess within our organisation, because many of us are people who have had decades of nuclear experience in the nuclear industry, so we know a lot of material that is not in the public domain. Our conclusion was that all three of those options had very real problems, but the one that most worried us was the option of doing nothing. That really meant assuming that the protection we gave to our 100 tonnes of nuclear materials was good enough, so we set about devising scenarios in which desperate men who were not afraid of killing themselves in the process could attempt to get access to even a few kilograms of this material and put it to nefarious use. The answer is, sadly, it is all too easy and there are lots of mechanisms that, very naturally, the people who possess these stores do not wish to talk about in public, because that would merely make it more likely that that information would be misused at some stage.

What is required is to have some mechanism to share information about which experts can be trusted to discuss this matter without it getting into the wrong hands and which experts cannot. I do not see that any of the NSS discussions went into that or reached any satisfactory conclusion if they did.


Thank you very much. I like Reshmi’s recommendation where she pointed out that the NSS conclusion helps us in sharing responsibility, thereby making it a national responsibility through the centres of excellence and I think these centres can be linked up with the IAEA. In Pakistan, we have also been able to institute this kind of centre of excellence, which has been reviewed and assessed by the IAEA teams and they have given a very encouraging and positive response. These centres have to evolve as the threat evolves globally and I agree with the point that there should be a global mechanism that needs to assess and give information and awareness as the threat evolves. More significantly, on the second point, where Reshmi indicated that a regional security summit can be organised and instituted, at the regional level there is a huge trust deficit. We have already seen many organisations working at the regional level, but these organisations and summits could not yield any dividends. That is a major concern for the states at a regional level.

Yongsoo Hwang

I would like to talk about how to set up the framework for the post‑NSS. I trust the IAEA and whether we have a biannual meeting, a triannual meeting or an annual meeting throughout the general conference it does not really matter, but we have to be very careful about the IAEA’s approach. Somebody might criticise that the decision‑making mechanism in IAEA is too slow. People might think about that throughout history. There might be another mechanism to support the IAEA’s activities. For example, we might need some strong effort from the UN Security Council to make a swift decision if we have to make a certain decision. What I am trying to say is that we need a parallel approach. Of course, we should support the IAEA’s role and potentially there are global mechanisms through the UN Security Council and a lot of reasonable mechanisms to support the IAEA’s effort. With this kind of combination of the global effort we can probably strengthen global nuclear security.

Reshmi Kazi

Thank you. There are lots of questions; I will try to take some of them. On overhype, yes, these are very important issues when you are dealing with nuclear terrorism, primarily because it is an unprecedented event. We were having some discussion yesterday and I would reiterate that we need to be very careful and restrain ourselves from being alarmist or creative alarmists when we are dealing with this subject. We need to re‑look at certain terminologies that are used when we are dealing with the subject of nuclear terrorism. We had a discussion on the use of the word ‘jihadist’ when we are dealing with terrorists who are looking for such category of materials, because it would be a very self‑defeating approach if we are calling them jihadists. They are not jihadists; they are terrorists and they are terrorists who are looking for this category of very dangerous materials. What terms and definitions can be accorded to this group of terrorists is something that can be debated further, but it would be a very self‑defeating approach to eulogise them, justifying their act as jihad or calling them jihadists. There should be a change in this literature. There should be a change in the terminology when we are dealing with this subject.

Lessons learned: a lot of lessons were learned from the NSS. On the positive side, nuclear diplomacy can bring together a group of nations and the numbers in all the summits have been increasing. For the fourth summit, the number went from 47 to 53, which is not a phenomenal jump, but there was increasing participation. The big lesson that was learned is that multilateralism is a way out when we are dealing with a global threat like nuclear terrorism. There was also emphasis on certain aspects like safety and security. There has been, so far, a distinction between safety and security, but there is a re‑emphasis that there is an interface. These are important lessons. One negative aspect that emerges is the communique and other statements that have come out are not binding in nature, so I guess some mechanism needs to be developed and the IAEA probably is the most viable instrument in this regard. The commitments that have been made are political commitments and that carries a lot of weight, because these statements are not statements per se, they are political statements, they are political commitments. Of course, the IAEA is devoid of political aspects, but to make these commitments more binding the IAEA is probably the most important instrument through which these commitments can be made more effective.

I know there are a lot of problems, as you pointed out, and I would link it to your issue that there is a huge trust deficit at the regional level, but I would also draw your attention to the fact that China and the United States still have a series of issues that differentiates them on many levels. At the foreign policy level, the military level they have a lot of differences, but the US and China came together and issued a joint statement on nuclear security earlier this year. Instead of having a paralysing pessimism approach, probably we can look forward and devise ways where a robust nuclear security architecture can be effected. Thank you.

Matthew Cottee

Thank you for all the questions. Let me start by responding to Andrey, because I think he was speaking at me. In terms of lessons learned, the key one is that despite the centrality and the importance of the issue, it is still difficult to generate consensus. This will link to the threat question, which came in a couple of formats as well and the role of wider politics on trying to come to some kind of conclusion. This goes back to the issue of representation and legitimacy. For example, if we look at IAEA guidelines or the CPPNM or the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT), all are deemed legitimate because of the process they have gone through, but questionable in the impact they have had. Whereas if you think about coalition of the willing style agreements, whether that is GP, global initiative type activity or simply smaller, bilateral activity, thinking of cooperative threat reduction and these kinds of issues, arguably they have produced more tangible results in the short term. The issue is trying to balance getting things done over broad legitimacy and accountability.

On the IAEA in terms of a conference, it is a good idea. It is good for experts and policymakers to come and meet. I think now we will see this issue of nuclear security becoming more technocratic rather than diplomatic. The primary function of the NSS process was to bring together world leaders to try to make something happen. It did that and now it is up to technical experts to try to implement whatever commitments have been made.

How to reconcile the remnants of the NSS process? It is a good question. The issue is that we still do not know. It remains the overarching issue and it has possibly not really been addressed. How do you coordinate five organisations or institutions tasked with carrying out the action plans? Each have different memberships; each have different roles and functions. Again, it comes back to the issue of trying to balance getting things done versus legitimacy and broad acceptance.

Another issue, since you asked the question, is what is Russia willing to do? Much comes down to US‑Russia bilateral relationships and, as we have seen, if things are not so good then that has an impact on nuclear security. I am thinking particularly of the Nuclear Security Summit this year when Russia did not attend. That is one issue.

The other was more to do with threat and balancing hype versus reality, which experts can be trusted and the amount of information that is available. There is a huge amount of information available simply in archives, if people are willing to go there. There are a number of books that tell you exactly what to do or what you would need, where to target certain hypothetical facilities, for example, but I am confident that at least in the UK case, and I am definitely not speaking on behalf of the UK government, but these scenarios are constantly designed and tested – the number of red team exercises that take place, force on force exercises – and bear in mind that the whole nuclear security system now, via the IAEA, is built on the concept of design basis threat (DBT). This means that facilities, in particular, today will be based on the threat as assessed by the security services, the military, etc. The analysis of the threat is certainly very well covered.

The issue then relates to how much of that is shared and made public and whether greater public awareness would generate more interest in the issue. Again, that is an issue for the Cabinet Office, effectively, in the UK, for example, balancing that public awareness and what to do should a CBRN incident occur versus panicking people. I am not sure I have a great answer for that, but I am not sure broadening awareness will necessarily directly correlate with more nuclear security activity, for example. I see them as being quite different compared to maybe a disarmament type grassroots initiative. They are different concepts.

This, broadly, brings me on to the final point, which links to the question about security and which experts you can trust with certain information. The sharing of sensitive information is at the very heart of the report that I mentioned and the research we are doing tries to address. As soon as the issue of the security of military materials is mentioned, states generally will clam up. It is not something that they want to talk about generally, for a variety of reasons, whether it is by signing up to the NSS process this is not what we agreed to discuss, so by now trying to extend the remit you are effectively going to undermine whatever progress has already been made. Other states are probably worried about any discussion of the security of nuclear materials in their country leading to broader debates domestically about disarmament, which they are not so keen on having – not mentioning any particular states.

In my head, they all tie together. I am not sure I have necessarily explained that terribly well, but particularly on the military materials side of things, if you can get similarly qualified, similarly minded military officials in the same room to at least start a discussion, then that would be one way of making progress on this issue.

Reshmi Kazi

Just to add to what Matthew said on the last point about the sharing of information. While the science of safety deals with accidents, the science of security is more to do with intentional cases. Obviously, there is a lot of distinction, but as far as sharing of information is concerned, I can understand, again on the military materials, there are a lot of hitches. However, there are certain authoritative people who are willing to share information on less sensitive issues like modules, course curricula, which can effectively enhance your nuclear security not only in your country but also at a regional and bilateral level.

Distinguishing between experts who can be trusted and who cannot be trusted is a very controversial step, but there are certain officials, like in India, even if they want to remain anonymous they would like to assure you that, yes, our country is safe.

Yongsoo Hwang

I would like to add something about how to share information. Sharing information is very difficult in practice. For example, if you try to have a new build, you will undertake a lot of assessments, because you have to identify what kind of critical digital asset you have to operate the nuclear power plant. In order to analyse whether this component is the critical one or not, you need profound information about the system and that kind of information cannot be shared by international corporations. Also, whenever you are talking about aircraft collision by terrorist groups into a nuclear power plant or the dry storage installation, you need profound information on how to analyse the impact of that kind of event and that information cannot be shared at this moment, unfortunately, throughout global society. We need another mechanism for how to share that kind of so‑called safeguard information to support the safe and secure operation of nuclear facilities, otherwise we cannot go anywhere. We need a strong effort to create a new channel to share critical information.

Irma Arguello

Thank you. We will now have a second round of questions.

Dr Adil Sultan, Director, Research and Analysis, Strategic Plans Division, Pakistan

Thank you to the panellists for giving their views on the NSS and its future. I fully agree with the panellists’ view that there is a need to have collaboration at the regional and global level on centres of excellence. My colleague has already mentioned about Pakistan’s centre of excellence, so I will just share this. The IAEA had a meeting of the International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres and, for the first time, this meeting happened in Pakistan, in March 2016. The objective was exactly the sharing of experiences and/or future roadmap, how to collaborate at the regional level, how to have linkages between the centres of excellence. Maybe this is of use also.

I had one or two questions, but Matt has already addressed them. However, having been involved in the NSS process, let me share my experience. Whilst we might like to have some global, legally binding arrangement on nuclear security, this is not going to happen, because there are extreme sensitivities involved in this and even while negotiating or having that communique, there were negotiations on specific phrases for hours and hours. The practical thing is what the communique, in the end, agreed to. It should remain voluntary. Responsibility should remain at the national level, because I agree with the comment made that the moment you bring out that we need to have a global architecture you will deter more states from engaging constructively in any process you would like to have at the international level. Thank you.

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation

Thank you for that interesting panel. I have a couple of different points. One is about how much the panellists talked about the future of the NSS itself, which is what Andrey expressed earlier. I would add that the US leadership in this regard was particularly critical in bringing a vast number of countries under its leadership. Without the US leadership, it would have been far more difficult in tackling nuclear security. There is a second reason as to why the NSS grew its support base and that is that with the NSS you are talking about how every single state is a party to it, is affected by it and we are essentially looking at non‑state groups as the targets, in a sense. Therefore, every state has an interest in coming together and talking about it and so it is far easier to reach some sort of agreement, unlike in other non‑proliferation issues or outer space or cyber security issues. The NSS process is also important because it enabled expanding the stakeholder base. For instance, you had the industry summit as well as the civil society experts meeting on the side lines of it, which again meant that you are expanding the number of folks engaged in this exercise and who have a stake in continuing with the strengthening of the nuclear security process. It will be interesting to see what form it might take in the future. I think it is too important an area to be left to informal contact groups within the IAEA. Certainly, the IAEA’s role must be strengthened, but there has to be a more streamlined and strengthened process to continue after the NSS.

Secondly, on the regional security measures that Reshmi talked about. I am all for regional security cooperation, but I am extremely sceptical. Regional security efforts are going to be mired in local context politics and nuclear security is too important an area to be left to regional efforts alone. Therefore, you need to strengthen the efforts at a global scale and that is going to be far more important.

One last point. The last Pakistani commentator talked about how global security legal measures are important but not likely. In the area of nuclear security, you are beginning to see a lot more convergence of interest among states and the CPPNM and the amendment are a testament to the fact that global nuclear security is something that affects every single state. Therefore, there is a greater likelihood of states coming together to tackle this particular problem as against some of the other traditional security issues.

Cornel Feruta, Chief Coordinator, Director General’s Office for Coordination, IAEA

I entered the room when there was quite a lot of talk about the IAEA and I work for the IAEA and I wanted to give you a bit of context. I do not have a question, only a comment, if you will indulge me.

Irma Arguello

If it is short.

Cornel Feruta

Ten minutes, no more. The comment is the following. We may be in a more auspicious context than it appears and the process does not start now, it is not artificial. The biggest merit of the NSS is that it placed nuclear security at the top of the political agenda. That is great and we can see already the impact and the implications. The process that started in the IAEA with a nuclear security conference does not start now, it started three years ago with the first ministerial conference. It continues now and is going to continue for the next years. In reality, beyond the political layer, we have tremendous work that has been done at the working level and the context has changed. The CPPNM amendment is palpable now and we can try to collect on the benefits of it. More and more countries understand that nuclear security is not only for those countries that develop nuclear power and nuclear security is not only about the security of nuclear materials. We are also talking about the security of radioactive sources and radioactive sources you can find everywhere, such as in a hospital. Indeed, there have been many situations in the last couple of years when radioactive sources from hospitals damaged the health of a number of people who manipulated it in a wrong way.

I think the political commitment is there and the NSS helped a lot. In the IAEA, we have the instruments. I do not share the view that we need to look at something new within the Security Council context, because it is not about the lack of instruments, we have the instruments, we have the political will and we have the capabilities. What has made a huge difference, if we look back, in the last six years we have increased the capacity of member states. We trained 10,000 people, which is huge, on nuclear security issues and we provided equipment to all of them. We have to understand and acknowledge this positive development, because that is how we can build into the future. The discussion is more than theoretical; it has to be very pragmatic and focused. Thank you.

Ali Rached, Policy Advisor, Counter Terrorism (CBRNE), Interpol

I have a comment about the issue of the nuclear black market that was mentioned earlier. I believe we should be very cautious when we draw conclusions based on the quantitative data we have in a lot of databases. Indeed, there has been a huge increase in the incidents that are registered in many of the databases that exist, whether it be the Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB), the IAEA or the Geiger database in Interpol, for example. We are counting over 3,800 nuclear incidents in the Geiger database in Interpol. However, when we look into the quality of the data or when we do basic analysis with further details, we realise that a lot of the incidents that are being reported do not naturally reflect the complexity of a black market with huge deals. There are a lot of scams, simply. There is a lot of material being retrieved and yet that is considered to be an incident. There are a lot of people who are trafficking in everything and they do not know what they are doing, but that is registered as an incident as well. We really need to be cautious not to over‑interpret the number of incidents registered in those databases.

Another comment about the information sharing. Obviously, that is, in a way, the core business of Interpol, sharing sensitive information among member countries’ law enforcement agencies. It is an incredibly complex issue. We are facing this on a daily basis, whether it be counter‑terrorism, foreign or insider information, for example, which is being shared among our member countries. Direct access to these databases is definitely something that is not envisioned, simply because of the confidence‑building measures that we have with our member countries. Simply, countries are not going to give us any information if they have the impression that we are disseminating it the way we want. Every single piece of information we receive has a lot of caveats on it regarding who we can share it with and that needs to be taken into account.

If we are to put this issue in the context of nuclear security, for example, we have a relationship with the IAEA and it is very well framed by an MOU addressing specifically information sharing between the nuclear security department, ITDB and our nuclear terrorism prevention units in Interpol. This MOU has existed since 2005. We have been trying for the last few years to update it in order to be able to exchange more information between the two international organisations and the membership issue was mentioned by Matt; the two organisations have the same member countries. However, we need to understand that the communities of their representation in each organisation is completely different. Obviously, in the IAEA it is the nuclear scientists, scientific commissions, regulatory bodies. In Interpol, it is law enforcement and that still creates a lot of barriers to what type of information we can share. Part two, for example, of the countries report, we have been trying to get access to that for a long time. Obviously, there are a lot of barriers and some countries are objecting to that. Again, it is a very complex issue with a lot of sensitivities. Thank you very much.

Irma Arguello

Thank you. I have room for two questions and a final comment from the panel.

Julie George, Programme Assistant, South Asia Centre, Atlantic Council

I have a question for Dr Hwang. How do we balance localised knowledge and accountability of the implementation of best practices, for example, about safeguards by design? This is relatively new, but how do we incorporate this with other countries? Thank you.

Sitara Noor, Research Fellow, Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non‑Proliferation (VCDNP)

I tend to agree with what the representative from Interpol just said, that the trend analyses of the databases that are coming out from the IAEA and other sources and some independent databases also suggest that there is still a gap between supply and demand. The people who are undertaking some events are not connected with some objective to carry out something, which is a good sign and this is a point where we should not be over‑alarmist and talking about some doomsday scenarios as such. However, definitely, effort needs to be made so that the gap in supply, which is being done without any intention of undertaking some event with regard to nuclear terrorism or something, needs to be expanded. Being over‑alarmist has the counterproductive element of bridging that gap, which should not be done at any cost.

On the previous discussion about the value of the Nuclear Security Summit, yes, it did not lead to any legally binding measures, but we should not underestimate or ignore the normative value that it has established with regard to nuclear security. That normative value created the momentum that led to the ratification of the CPPNM amendment and that normative value will take states forward in doing more measures, which would not be possible by some legal agreements or by binding states to something that they do not agree with at face value from the start.

Yongsoo Hwang

I have a comment about your question and another question on the voluntary approach. Information sharing is very difficult, there are a lot of hurdles, but we have to work on that. On the safeguard by design information, we have a bilateral agreement between the US and South Korea. It is not a universal compliance mechanism; it is just a bilateral agreement. We had to create some trust throughout this information sharing with the US, so what we are trying to do is to introduce a legally binding system between two states to exchange critical information. In addition, we would like to promote the T2R3 concept (traceability, transparency, review, reproducibility, and retrievability) for any kind of information that can be shared between two countries. That kind of information sharing mechanism is critical, but it means a lot of trial and error and, as you point out, it is a very difficult and challenging task.

I would like to mention something about the voluntary approach. I do not trust any legally binding approach for these kinds of actions. We have tried many times throughout the history of the IAEA, for example, international plutonium storage (IPS), International Nuclear Fuel Cycle (INFC) approach, the reasonable fuel cycle approach. We tried to introduce some kind of legally binding system, but it never worked out successfully. We have learned something from previous lessons emphasising the value of the voluntary approach and we have to move step by step. That is my approach.

Reshmi Kazi

On the future of NSS, to add what I have already said, one important aspect would be widening the definition of nuclear security. So far, nuclear security has dealt with the protection of nuclear and radiological materials against threat, sabotage and other illicit activities. As a suggestion, the definition could be widened to include non‑nuclear weapon states as well, because when you are talking about a global threat all stakeholders, including the non‑nuclear weapon states, need to be involved in this, I believe. Therefore, the definition of nuclear security can probably be widened.

When I mentioned about a regional nuclear security summit, I certainly did not mean that it should be hijacked at the regional level. My apologies if I miscommunicated that to you, Raji. I agree with you that at the global level more effort should be made to strengthen the NSS process. The informal contact groups are there and more mechanisms can be evolved over time to make it stronger. At the same time, though, when we are talking about disarmament there is a debate that not only at the global level but also at the regional level states should be contributing in terms of regional disarmament. In that sense, when we are talking about nuclear security every stakeholder should be contributing in strengthening it. Therefore, at the regional level, as potential stakeholders facing this threat, if they can also come up with certain mechanisms to improve and strengthen nuclear security, it will add to the global effort as well.

To your comment on the classification of information, I agree with you. You have to be extremely cautious when you are using such sources. However, just as we should not be overhyping or over‑alarmist, by being over‑cautious we should not cross the line and become complacent. The sources that are there one should evaluate objectively and do the best analysis possible and then come to certain conclusions. There must be a distinction between over‑cautious and complacency. Thank you.

Matthew Cottee

A couple of last comments, if I may. First, Adil, about a global, legally binding treaty never going to happen, I completely agree and if I conveyed anything else, I apologise. The communique was hard enough to agree on and the central tenet of responsibility being at the national level, again, it is impossible to get past that. However, there are arguments that it is something to work towards so that focus and energy is still devoted to improving standards of nuclear security. That is one argument that exists for it being there, but I agree it is idealistic.

On Raji’s point about US leadership, again I completely agree. Irrespective of who wins the election next week, nuclear security, as a result, will not have the prominence that it previously did. Who knows what a President Trump may think about nuclear security. The Clinton administration, if it happens, I would imagine will be a lot more focused, but not to the extent that the Obama administration was. The very fact that it was so closely tied to Obama for political reasons was a partial explanation for why Russia did not turn up, because it was an easy way for Russia to undermine an Obama legacy.

To Cornel’s point about the IAEA, again I completely agree. The work the IAEA has done and the capacity building within member states has hugely increased and that is a tangible outcome. The issue I was trying to raise is what did the NSS process miss and military materials is a massive gap in how we refer to a nuclear security architecture or regime. That was the starting point of our research into how we could try to address the security of military materials. Certain actors believe that the IAEA was one potential forum for that to take place and we have since realised that that is probably not going to be the case, at least now. That is just clarification on that point.

Very briefly, on using ITDB data. That comes back to the issue of overhyping the threat. Certain data or statistics are useful for news stories, but the real events contain minimal quantities of material or no material at all. I like the metaphor of how you would sell a stolen Picasso, it is a similar parallel. Most, if not all, sales or attempted sales end in sting operations, which is encouraging, despite the number of news stories you may read.

Finally, to Sitara’s point about the establishment of norms. Again, I could not agree more. I wrote a PhD on that exact topic. However, again, norms are all dependent on trust and the relationship between states, so a legal underpinning is always more useful if it is at all achievable, which, in this case, it probably is not.

I will conclude there. Thanks.

Irma Arguello

Thank you very much for participating in this session. Please join me in congratulating our speakers.

Back to content list

Brussels, 3-4 November 2016

EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2016