Koupriyanova pointed out that some analysts argue that critical thinking on the part of nuclear facility workers is important for effective MPC&A. She disagreed, arguing that top managers and security analysts should have the authority to think critically, but that workers should do as they are instructed and follow the rules. In her view, the key to effective MPC&A is maintaining strict discipline through coaching and training. If there is not enough control over workers, they will not report on one another, and they will only perform tasks if they agree it should be done. She noted, however, that appropriate MPC&A practice will vary from one country to another, and suggested that the international community should strive to define international standards of permissible nuclear activities, along with mechanisms to implement them, since nuclear accidents have international consequences.
Koupriyanova emphasized that domestic approaches to safeguards culture may vary. Russia, for example, is democratic now but continues to be under pressure from the values and moral standards of Soviet times. Nevertheless, Russian workers must now learn to use new MPC&A equipment safely and effectively, without the old system of control in place.
Koupriyanova concluded with two points: first, it is time to develop an international standard for the acceptable character of safeguards culture in a nuclear facility, and propose a mechanism to regulate it. Second, appropriate safeguards culture should be defined not only for nuclear power plants but for all nuclear facilities.
Commentator Igor Khripunov of the University of Georgia (U.S.) offered some guiding principles of security culture. In his view, all staff at nuclear facilities should be able to demonstrate that they recognize their own and their facility’s vulnerability to attack or to theft of nuclear materials. Security culture also requires effective local leadership, user-friendly procedures, and workers motivated by a sense of personal performance and responsibility to constantly learn and improve. Additionally, the condition of equipment at nuclear facilities must be very good, and it must be used as it was intended. In Khripunov’s view, security culture should be defined as a set of globally-agreed standards, applied via country-specific policies.
In the pursuit of a robust security culture, Khripunov suggested that the community of MPC&A experts try to define the aspects of culture that have relevance for MPC&A by focusing on observable actions. He also advocated the use of “nuclear security models” as a way of delineating specific cultures and understanding their similarities and differences. Types of societies with nuclear culture problems include transitional societies, countries with “opaque” nuclear systems as described by van Dassen, and countries who are just beginning to build their nuclear energy complexes. Khripunov espoused proactive approaches to management that focus on security policy, understand the use of authority, and clearly communicate expectations. Finally, he noted that these efforts should strive for the establishment of a young, rising “nuclear elite” of managers and policy makers.