Shaping Strong Security Norms

in Program

Today, there are over 400 nuclear power reactors operating around the world, generating 10.5% of the world’s electricity production. While more than half of these reactors are set to retire in the coming decades, compounded by several abrupt premature closures prompted by increasing market competition, nuclear power continues to play a pivotal role in diversifying and meeting energy demands worldwide. Fifty-five reactors are currently under construction, and given concerns about rising temperatures and its inevitable deleterious impact on the world’s climate, many countries are showing renewed interest in nuclear as a technologically viable option for carbon-free energy. But amidst this opportunity to encourage favorability towards nuclear energy, public reservations about nuclear safety and security persist. While safety continues to garner the most attention both in the form of public critique and industry response, security is a rapidly rising contender.

Determining proper security, including adequate cyber protection, and ensuring reliable implementation goes beyond the traditional guns, guards, and gates formula. Security, like safety, must also be embedded within the organizational culture of a nuclear facility; a strong belief that a credible threat exists at every level of the workforce is a key element in making informed security decisions at the top of the management chain, as well as effective execution at the operational level. There is no one-size-fits all approach to security culture, but stakeholders within the nuclear community are beginning to recognize the value in determining what “security culture” means and looks like within their respective roles.

Stimson, in consultation with nuclear security specialists, regulators, insurers, lawyers, and facility operators, propose a model that encourages nuclear facilities to demonstrate their “duty of care”—the ways in which operators, particularly at the executive and managerial levels, take reasonable care or exercise reasonable skill to address foreseeable threats and correct security vulnerabilities—in a way that would be defensible to a judge or jury. The proposed model, the Organizational Governance Template for Nuclear Security, aims to illustrate that providing a clear narrative on how senior leadership prioritize, cultivate, and maintain strong security culture in their workforce can be a competitive advantage not only to industry, but the wider nuclear security enterprise.

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Choose Your Subscription Topics
* indicates required
I'm interested in...
38 North: News and Analysis on North Korea
South Asian Voices