Nonproliferation
Project Note

Nuclear Security News and Member Updates Roundup, March 2021

In March, the nuclear security community reflected on the Fukushima nuclear disaster while continuing multilateral dialogue on the physical protection of nuclear materials

Dear INSF Members,

This past month marked the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Many INSF members reflected on this tragedy over the past several weeks, highlighting the impact the incident had on international nuclear safety and security. Fukushima Daiichi was a harsh reminder that nuclear operators must make nuclear safety and security a priority and be prepared for all the challenges their facilities might face. It is also a reminder of why our growing network that continues to emphasize nuclear security is so important. 

Best,

Nickolas Roth and Becca Earnhardt

International Nuclear Security Forum

Join the conversation on Twitter: @INS_Forum

Announcements

  • Dr. Macfarlane joins the Advisory Board: Dr. Macfarlane is Professor and Director of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. Prior to that, she chaired the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2012-2014. She holds a doctorate in geology from MIT and a bachelor’s in science from the University of Rochester.
  • Protecting Against Insider Threats: On March 24, 1:00PM-2:00PM (EST), the INSF hosted a public webinar on the topic of insider threats. Speakers Dr. Matthew Bunn, Dr. Amy Zegart, and Dr. Scott Sagan discussed how this threat can impact nuclear security and nuclear terrorism threats. 

Nuclear Security News

Global Governance

  • IAEA: “European Regulators Assess their Implementation of the Guidance on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources” – “During this virtual regional meeting…more than 80 representatives from 40 European countries…compared their approaches to managing disused radioactive sources to those recommended in the IAEA Guidance.”
  • HM Government: “Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy” – The UK government outlined plans to increase its nuclear weapons stockpile and predicts that, “It is likely that a terrorist group will launch a successful CBRN attack by 2030.”
  • The Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiological Safety: “Russian Regulator Approves Ten-Year Plan to Improve Nuclear Safety and Security Regulatory Framework” – Rules under review cover material accounting and control procedures, physical protection and transportation security requirements, reclassification of radiological waste/material as nuclear materials, quality assurance at nuclear facilities, and certification requirements for physical protection equipment.

Minimization and Reduction

  • Russian Nuclear Security: “Russian nuclear fuel delivered to Kazakhstan as a part of HEU-LEU reactor conversion” – Rosatom company Luch delivered low-enriched uranium (LEU) to the Kazakh IVG.1M nuclear research reactor as part of its highly enriched uranium (HEU) to LEU program.
  • Nuclear Engineering International Magazine: “Petten reactor switches to low enriched uranium” – The Dutch Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) announced that the High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten will only produce medical isotopes using LEU.
  • World Nuclear News: “U.S. HALEU facility set for 2022 start-up” – Centrus Energy Corporation announced that construction of the first high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production facility in Piketon, Ohio will begin next year.

Advanced Reactors

  • World Nuclear News: “Rosatom targets 24 new reactor units in Russia by 2045” – “Rosatom has announced that implementation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to increase the share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix to 25% by 2045 will require, according to preliminary estimates, the construction of 24 new reactor units, including in new regions.” 
  • World Nuclear News: “U.S. Defense Department eyes 2022 for microreactor build decision” – “The US Department of Defense’s (DOD) project to develop a mobile reactor – Project Pele – is on track for full power testing of a mobile reactor in 2023, with outdoor mobile testing at a Department of Energy (DOE) installation in 2024.”

Weapons, Materials, and Facilities

  • Nuclear Engineering International Magazine: “Rosatom combines COVID quarantine periods with training for workers at NPP sites abroad” – “The programme of incoming qualification control and assessment of working personnel will allow us to conduct high-quality selection and recruit candidates who have been shown to have the sufficient level of professional skills required to work at a foreign facility.”
  • Kyiv Post: “Ukrainian MPs initiate audit of Belarusian nuclear power plant” – All four subcommittees of the Ukranian Verkhovna Rada’s Clean Energy and Healthy Environment group signed a letter to the IAEA requesting an audit of the Belorussian Astravets Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Russian Nuclear Security: “Belarus NPP will allocate share of its revenue to nuclear security and safety fund” – The President of Belarus signed Executive Order Number 32, establishing a fund to finance the maintenance and improvement of nuclear safety and security at the country’s first nuclear power plant in Astravets.
  • World Nuclear News: “Security lapses impact Kashiwazaki-Kariwa restart” – “Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has failed in its duty to protect nuclear materials at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, according to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).”

Crisis and Recovery Operations

  • The Day: “Millstone’s 2020 safety performance reviewed by Nuclear Regulatory Commission” – While the Millstone Nuclear Power Station (NPS) met all of the benchmarks and corrected for violations that were identified during the summer 2020 review, employees continue to voice concerns over the facility’s response to COVID-19.

Threats

  • U.S. Department of Justice: “Phoenix Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Planning to Release Stolen Radiological Materials in Scottsdale and Payson” – On April 28, 2019, Jared Trent Atkins, 27, stabbed a gas station clerk, drove to his place of employment, and stole three radiological devices containing Iridium-192 in addition to the tools to open the devices.
  • BBC News: “Sellafield nuclear site a ‘toxic mix of bullying and harassment” – In a leaked letter from the Sellafield nuclear site’s group for ethnic minority staff, whistleblowers have shared stories of racial abuse, sexism, and homophobic bullying.

Membership Announcements, Upcoming Events, and Updates

Upcoming Events

“Nuclear Security Education” on April 7, 2PM-3PM (BST) hosted by The Centre of Science and Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London. During this webinar, speakers will be discussing nuclear security education and training in different national settings. Specifically, we will hear from speakers from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, including a study being conducted amongst members of the International Nuclear Security Education Network on research in support of nuclear security education. Please contact Isabel Lucio ([email protected]) with any queries.

Security Considerations for Nuclear Supply Chain Management” on April 14 – April 15 hosted by the World Institute for Nuclear Security. This online workshop will feature live discussions, breakout sessions, and pre-recorded on-demand lectures. The live sessions will take place April 14 and April 15, 2:30PM-5:30PM (Vienna Time).

Updates

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

  • On March 3-5, the Project on Managing the Atom hosted a three-day conference examining the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl nuclear disasters. Read more about the virtual conference.

The Centre of Science and Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London 

To keep up to date on CSSS events and news, please subscribe to their newsletter.

  • CSSS released a new report titled, “Nuclear Security Culture in Practice: A Handbook of UK Case Studies.” “This handbook provides new practical insights into efforts to strengthen the human factor within nuclear security systems, through exploring how security culture programmes have been established within different nuclear organisations.” Download the handbook.
  • On March 3, CSSS hosted a webinar titled “Nuclear Security in Times of Crisis.” View the webinar.
  • On March 25, CSSS hosted a webinar titled “Nuclear forensics: Meeting nuclear security needs in a time of challenge.” Watch a full recording of the event.
  • Want to see past CSS events? Watch them on their YouTube channel.

The Henry L. Stimson Center

  • On March 18, the Nuclear Security Program launched the “Nuclear Security Governance Template,” a dynamic and adaptable tool that helps leaders define, communicate, and improve security-related management decision-making processes and systems without divulging sensitive information. The template website can be viewed here. To watch the virtual launch event, please visit this link.

Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project (NPPP)

  • NPPP Founder and Coordinator Alan Kuperman’s report, “Challenges of Plutonium Fuel Fabrication: Explaining the Decline of Spent Fuel Recycling,” is now publicly available. Read the article.

Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

  • UCS Director of the Nuclear Power Safety program Edwin Lyman published a report titled, “’Advanced isn’t Always Better’: Assessing the Safety, Security, and Environmental Impacts of Non-Light-Water Nuclear Reactors.” Read the full report here.

The Stimson Center

On March 18, the Nuclear Security Program launched the “Nuclear Security Governance Template,” a dynamic and adaptable tool that helps leaders define, communicate, and improve security-related management decision-making processes and systems without divulging sensitive information. 

Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP)

  • Summary for VCDNP Virtual Workshop “Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material: States Parties’ Experiences and the Way Forward”, March 9-10: The VCDNP held a virtual workshop to discuss national experiences in the implementation of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The workshop also provided important updates on the upcoming Review Conference of Parties to the Amendment scheduled to take place in March 2022. Over 100 participants from national governments and international organizations took part in the workshop. They represented more than 50 states, including 14 states not yet party to the Amendment. 
  • Representatives from national regulators, experts from the IAEA, national governments, and think tanks also spoke at the event. Read more about the VCDNP Virtual Workshop.

The World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS)

“Ten years after Fukushima: The experts examine lessons learned and forgotten”

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