Project Note

Nuclear Security News Roundup, September 2020

This update includes the outcomes of the 64th IAEA General Conference, the strengthening of nuclear security cooperation, and the successful conclusion of bilateral initiatives seeking to consolidate HEU

Global Governance of Nuclear Security:

  • At the close of the month, the IAEA Board of Governors elected by acclamation Ambassador Heidi Alberta Hulan as the Chairperson of the IAEA’s Board of Governors for 2020-2021. Hulan is Canada’s Permanent Representative to the international organizations in Vienna and Ambassador to Austria and Slovakia. 
  • Nuclear security cooperation was strengthened as Russia signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation with the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), as “a practical step” towards implementation of agreements reached with African countries at the Russia-Africa Summit in October of 2019. 

Reducing Material and Number of Sites:

  • At the same time, ongoing challenges of consolidation remain in many locations. In the most recent update in South Carolina’s $600 million federal settlement, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the seven counties near the Savannah River Site, claiming the federal government did not follow through on removing nuclear waste from the area. Lawyers argue that only specific counties, instead of all South Carolinians, should be prime beneficiaries of the settlement. 

Security for Nuclear Power Plants and Facilities:

  • International organizations are looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic for what can be learned and for strategic direction. The IAEA published a lessons-learned article on nuclear safety and security regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, in anticipation of future challenges, the IAEA’s Regulatory Cooperation Forum discussed their new 2020-2024 strategic plan, which they hope will “strengthen the global nuclear safety and security framework.”  
  • The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) proposed new regulations, which have been under development since 2013, that cover nuclear facility design, analysis, and operation. This includes accounting for radiological emergencies or other adverse external disasters that may lead to security failure. The estimated date for the regulations to take effect is January 1st, 2022. 
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