Better Than a Floppy: The Potential of Distributed Ledger Technology for Nuclear Safeguards Information

Analysis and Briefings

Better Than a Floppy: The Potential of Distributed Ledger Technology for Nuclear Safeguards Information

Blockchain is transitioning away from the hype and gaining legitimacy as the next-wave technological solution to distribute data and build a network of trust among parties. Distributed ledger technology (DLT), which underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, is a combination of already-existing technologies (such as cryptography) to securely manage and easily audit large volumes of data across a network. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has identified the need to examine the potential utility of blockchain technology for safeguards applications, specifically nuclear material accounting, in its safeguards Research and Development Plan. In this policy analysis brief, Cindy Vestergaard, Director of the Nuclear Safeguards Program at the Stimson Center, in partnership with the Stanley Foundation, further explores the idea.

This policy analysis brief provides an overview of DLT and explores its utility for safeguards information management. It considers the landscape of factors determining how safeguards data is inputted, processed, and accessed. The findings and recommendations suggest where adding a DLT layer could be applied to provide greater efficiency, data reconciliation, accuracy, and trust in information management at the international, national, and facility levels. Read more from the Stanley Foundation here.

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