Press Release

World’s First Blockchain Prototype for Safeguarding Nuclear Material Receives Award for Innovation in Global Security

Today, the world’s first blockchain prototype for safeguarding nuclear material, known as SLAFKA, was awarded third prize for Innovation in Global Security by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) as part of its Geopolitics and Global Futures program. The prize recognizes excellence by individuals or organizations that have an innovative approach to addressing international security challenges.

SLAFKA, since its unveiling in March 2020, has demonstrated that distributed ledger technology (DLT), or blockchain, has the potential to increase efficiency, trust, and transparency in the management of nuclear safeguards information. SLAFKA is a joint project with the Stimson Center’s Blockchain in Practice program, Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), and the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Learn More:  The SLAFKA Project

Video: How it works: SLAFKA Tutorial

Long term integrity is especially challenging for spent fuel placed in underground storage. Finland is currently focused on this challenge as it is constructing the world’s first geological repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste. SLAFKA has shown that DLT technologies can assist with the inefficiencies in nuclear safeguards management around the world and maintain the confidentiality of nuclear accounting information of material above and below ground.

Cindy Vestergaard, Director of the Blockchain in Practice program and SLAFKA project lead at the Stimson Center said, “The accounting of nuclear material is foundational to the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Although currently most State records are kept electronically, data integrity and correctness remain a challenge. Additionally, with growing cyber threats, the need for these systems’ security has increased significantly. We are honored to receive this prize and look forward to seeing the future of SLAFKA unfold with regulatory authorities around the world.”

Elina Martikka, Head of International Cooperation at STUK said, “Finland is currently constructing the world’s first geological repository for the spent nuclear fuel. It is important to us that the knowledge and information created during the disposal process remain unchanged for centuries to come. The information produced for safeguards contributes to ensuring that Finland fulfills its international obligation under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

The Innovation in Global Security prize was first established in 2015 and reaches across all disciplines, fields and across a broad range of projects. Some of these projects include technological and conceptual innovations, original research, or grassroots initiatives. This year, the competition received 113 applications.

The Stimson Center’s Blockchain in Practice program developed the concept of SLAFKA, identified international partners, and worked closely with them to develop this prototype. The program is among the first to engage with international nonproliferation and disarmament organizations, national authorities, and private technology companies on the potential application of DLT to strengthen the international security regimes.

The Stimson Center promotes international security, shared prosperity & justice through applied research and independent analysis, deep engagement, and policy innovation.

For three decades, Stimson has been a leading voice on urgent global issues. Founded in the twilight years of the Cold War, the Stimson Center pioneered practical new steps toward stability and security in an uncertain world. Today, as changes in power and technology usher in a challenging new era, Stimson is at the forefront: Engaging new voices, generating innovative ideas and analysis, and building solutions to promote international security, prosperity, and justice.

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