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2 Policy Makers’ Perspectives on Key Nonproliferation Issues Associated with the Nuclear Fuel Cycle One of the tasks of this National Academies workshop (see Appen- dixes A and B) was to solicit input from policy makers. Several policy makers were invited and asked to comment on two topics: (1) the key questions involved in U.S. nonproliferation policy; and (2) the potential for technical assessments of fuel cycle facilities’ proliferation resistance to inform real-world decision-making. The workshop’s first day began with three briefings by U.S. Depart- ment of Energy (DOE) policy makers. First, in the workshop’s keynote speech, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman provided background and insights on the past, present, and potential future of U.S. nonproliferation policy. Following Mr. Poneman’s briefing, Edward McGinnis, Deputy Assistant Secretary in DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and Mark Whitney, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Nonproliferation and International Security in DOE’s National Nuclear Security Adminis - tration’s (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, provided briefings on the applicability of and potential role for technical assess - ments of proliferation resistance as well as potential questions and goals for the workshop. Following these briefings, a panel discussion was convened including panelists from three agencies responsible for formulating and executing U.S. nonproliferation and nuclear security policy: • Dunbar Lockwood, Team Leader for International Safeguards Policy, NNSA Office of Nuclear Safeguards and Security; 13
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14 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES • John Harvey, Principal Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Pro- grams at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD); and • Richard Stratford, Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Safety, and Security (NESS) in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of State. This panel discussion was moderated by Sharon Squassoni, director and senior fellow in the nonproliferation program at the Center for Stra- tegic and International Studies and workshop committee member. This chapter provides summaries of the key points made by each of these individuals and by participants in the subsequent discussion ses - sions. These statements reflect the viewpoints of the individual speakers, not the consensus views of the workshop participants or of the National Academies. IS STOPPING NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION A HUMAN PROBLEM, A TECHNICAL PROBLEM, OR SOMETHING ELSE? Daniel Poneman U.S. nuclear arms control policy began directly following World War II with the Baruch Plan. Since that time, the pendulum of U.S. policy has swung from a highly positive view of civilian nuclear energy worldwide (in the 1970s) to a more negative view of nuclear energy, discouraging nuclear fuel cycle facilities abroad and abandoning some projects (e.g., breeder and reprocessing projects) domestically due to proliferation con- cerns. In many ways, the pendulum now appears to be swinging back again to a greater international interest in nuclear energy. For a generation, U.S. nuclear energy policy was a product of Presi - dent Eisenhower’s 1953 Atoms for Peace speech to the United Nations. 1 In this speech, he encouraged the peaceful uses of atomic energy—as opposed to the military uses—and proposed the establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): The governments principally involved, to the extent permitted by el - ementary prudence, should begin now and continue to make joint con - tributions from their stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable ma- terials to an international atomic energy agency. . . . The more important responsibility of this atomic energy agency would be to devise methods whereby this fissionable material would be allocated to serve the peace - 1 Available on the Internet at: http://www.iaea.org/About/history_speech.html
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15 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES ful pursuits of mankind. Experts would be mobilized to apply atomic energy to the needs of agriculture, medicine and other peaceful activities. A special purpose would be to provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world. Thus the contributing Powers would be dedicating some of their strength to serve the needs rather than the fears of mankind. (Eisenhower, 1953) In 1974, however, India’s test of a “peaceful nuclear explosive” chal - lenged the previous assumption that civilian nuclear fuel cycle technology could be safely shared. This view reflected concern that Canadian and U.S. peaceful nuclear assistance was used in the project to facilitate India’s development of an explosive device. Following these tests, both the U.S. executive branch and Congress changed their approach to nuclear nonproliferation policy. Notably, on April 7, 1977, the Carter administration banned domestic reprocessing of civilian used nuclear fuel and sought to persuade other nations to shortly follow the U.S. example. While the United States abandoned the effort to close the nuclear fuel cycle, however, other nations, such as France, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom, persisted. At the same time, the effect of the tests in India—combined with the political impact of the 1979 partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and the 1983 Washington Public Power System municipal bond system failure2—resulted in a shift in the U.S. consensus on the value of nuclear energy. This shift lasted for more than a decade. By the late 1990s, nuclear energy again began to rise in prominence in the United States. This rise was due in large part to two factors: first, recognition of the potential role of nuclear energy in addressing con- cerns over carbon dioxide emissions and climate change; and second, significant regulatory improvements that had taken place over the previ - ous decade. Beginning in the mid-2000s, a relatively robust consensus emerged that nuclear energy has a place in a low-carbon future. Nuclear energy continues to enjoy support in the United States today. Nuclear power is currently expanding around the world. In many cases, nations that have not previously had nuclear power programs are considering constructing reactors. It is important that the United States is engaged globally in ensuring that nuclear power is expanded safely and securely and that an increase in nuclear power worldwide does not lead to further nuclear weapons proliferation. 2 In 1983, the Washington Public Power System declared in the late summer of 1983 that it could not repay $2.25 billion in bonds used to finance partial construction of two now- abandoned nuclear power plants in Washington State. More information available on the Internet at: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,955183,00.html
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16 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES Nuclear security concerns have preoccupied President Obama since before taking office. As an Illinois senator in 2006, he worked with Sena- tor Richard Lugar on a bill seeking to secure nuclear weapons,3 and he traveled to Russia to discuss issues of nuclear security. He believes that it is in the interest of the United States to pursue a vision of a world free of nuclear weapons in a vigorous manner. The administration, however, also recognizes the importance of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to building a low-carbon future. In order to help countries to benefit from nuclear energy in a safe and secure manner, President Obama recommended the establishment of a new framework for international civilian nuclear cooperation in his April 2009 speech in Prague: …we should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, in - cluding an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation. That must be the right of every nation that renounces nuclear weapons, especially devel- oping countries embarking on peaceful programs.4 One proposal for such cooperation would involve seeking commer- cial consortia offering to provide fuel cycle services to countries looking to initiate or expand nuclear energy programs, so that there is no need for them to develop fuel cycle services domestically. Many, if not most, nations currently pursuing nuclear power are genuinely seeking a source of electricity, not a back door to obtain nuclear weapons. But in order to succeed, the reliability of any offer must be established to the satisfaction of the reactor operators and their host gov- ernments. If these nations received an assurance that fresh fuel would be reliably provided and used fuel reliably managed, reasons for pursuing fuel cycle facilities—with their concomitant proliferation risks—would be reduced. This arrangement would allow countries to freely pursue peace- ful nuclear aspiration without increasing proliferation risks. One possibility is some form of layered guarantees for fuel assurance. Commercial entities could provide assurances for execution of contracted fuel services, which then could be reinforced by national governmen- tal, and finally multilateral, guarantees. In addition to safeguarding any facilities involved in the fuel assurances, the IAEA could support this framework both by hosting fuel banks and other potential fuel assurance mechanisms and by determining when a member state had violated its nonproliferation commitments. Of course, a Nuclear Non-Proliferation 3 Available on the Internet at: thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:s.02566: 4 Available on the Internet at: www.whitehouse.gov/video/The-President-in-Prague
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17 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES Treaty violator would not be entitled to continue to enjoy the benefits of the contracted fuel assurances. In July 2011, DOE held a workshop to consider future directions in nuclear separations technology.5 This workshop brought together indi- viduals working in NNSA, the Office of Applied Science, the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), and the Office of Science to discuss fuel assurance, and other approaches for controlling proliferation, particularly modified fuel cycles and the use of small modular reactors (SMR). Several points are clear following this workshop: first, none of the participants thought they knew the answer to preventing proliferation; second, analytical rigor is important in considering how to prevent proliferation; and third, this analytic rigor will need to be integrated with the many governmental and political issues involved in preventing proliferation. Summary of Question and Answer Session Working with international partners. Workshop chair C. Paul Robinson (Director Emeritus of Sandia National Laboratories), asked Deputy Secretary Poneman to elaborate on the melding of technical solu - tions to proliferation with political solutions. In response, Deputy Secre - tary Poneman noted that the budget environment has changed over the last year, and that less funding is projected to be available at DOE than in previous years. The effects of reduced funding will need to be consid- ered in any effort. However, DOE’s nuclear complex has a great deal of scientific expertise, and effective international partnerships can optimize the usefulness of this expertise. For example, continuing close interactions with nations such as France, with its many experts in fuel cycle technolo- gies, and Russia, with its current work on a test bed for advanced fuel cycle technologies, are likely to be fruitful. Of course, this kind of collabo - ration will be easier with countries for which the United States already has 123 Agreements6 in place, but in other cases, other agreements may be in place to allow for a convening purpose. Business opportunities and the back end of the fuel cycle. Workshop committee member Sharon Squassoni (Center for Strategic and Interna- tional Security) observed that fuel assurances might be easier to manage on the front end of the fuel cycle than on the back end of the fuel cycle, 5 The workshop agenda can be accessed on the Internet at: http://events.energetics.com/ NuclearSeparationsTechnologyWorkshop/agenda.html 6 “123 Agreements” refer to Section 123 of the United States Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which establish an agreement for cooperation as a prerequisite for nuclear deals between the United States and any other nation.
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18 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES particularly given the recent fate of the proposed spent fuel repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. She then asked Deputy Secretary Poneman to comment on the recent findings on this topic contained in the interim report of the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC, 2011). Deputy Secretary Poneman agreed that it is likely to be easier to cooperate internationally on the front end of the fuel cycle. However, there are also potential opportunities to be considered on the back end. For example, he suggested that an entity able to effectively close the back end of the fuel cycle would have the ability to provide a full package of fuel cycle services to nations that want to start a nuclear energy program. However, as noted previously, a reactor operator will need to have sufficient confidence that the entity managing such fuel cycle services will continue to function, and that used fuel will not return to the operator either physically, legally, or financially. This may require governments to make a backstopping statement that they have some residual responsibil- ity for the fuel. Finally, the BRC’s recent findings may provide a useful basis for people in the business community, non-governmental organizations, and Congress to tackle this national challenge. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S OFFICE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY’S PERSPECTIVE ON PROLIFERATION RISK AND NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES Edward McGinnis There is a grand challenge facing the world right now: Ensuring that a global expansion of nuclear power does not increase the proliferation risk associated with nuclear weapons technology. An expansion of nuclear power could carry both benefits and risks. Although some fuel cycle facilities associated with nuclear power have the potential to be misused for non-peaceful purposes, nuclear power can also provide a low-carbon energy source as well as significant economic benefit, including jobs. Because of this dual nature of nuclear power, effective nuclear security is important, as is effective nuclear safety. To maximize the contribution of nuclear power to the world’s future energy mix, it will be important to use and expand nuclear technology in the safest and most secure way possible. However, proven and well- known designs are sometimes preferred by new entrant countries over next generation designs that may offer enhanced safety and perhaps security features. This is because the technical, cost, and schedule risks are perceived to be reduced when a proven nuclear power plant design
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19 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES is deployed. Therefore, the nuclear authorities in an emerging market country may simply believe they cannot afford the risks associated with building a first-of-a-kind plant. However, another risk associated with successfully deploying a nuclear plant in many nations relates to limited national electric grids. As a general technical rule, any single power source should not exceed approximately 10 percent of the national electric grid. Thus, a country seeking to deploy a 1,000 megawatt (MW) reactor should have a grid sup- porting at minimum 10 gigawatts (GW) of electric generation. However, a number of emerging market countries have smaller grids. A proven small modular reactor design could serve an important role in meeting electricity needs in these countries, because the vast majority of proven and commonly-deployed nuclear power plant designs are 1,000 MW plants or larger. The potential cost, safety, and proliferation resistance improvements that SMRs could offer could be beneficial in an expanding global market. The present workshop was convened to consider options for assess - ing and minimizing the risks of nuclear proliferation associated with the nuclear fuel cycle. Along with other organizations, DOE-NE is grappling with these issues. DOE-NE is particularly interested in innovative ideas related to implementing effective risk assessment and risk management approaches in a world where access to nuclear energy is expanding. Understanding and minimizing the risk of proliferation is an integral part of DOE-NE’s research and development (R&D) roadmap (DOE, 2010). DOE-NE’s R&D roadmap focuses on four key research objectives aimed at the safe and secure use of nuclear energy, including minimizing proliferation: (1) innovative technologies and intrinsic design features; (2) next-generation materials protection and accounting control systems; (3) international frameworks and institutions; and (4) proliferation risk assessment and risk management. Although all of these areas are inter- related, the focus of this briefing is on the fourth topic. Risk assessment as a discipline is not new; however, applications to proliferation resistance of fuel cycle facilities remain immature. Probabi- listic risk assessment (PRA) has been used in the context of nuclear safety for decades, beginning with the seminal 1975 WASH-1400 reactor safety study (USNRC, 1975). However, WASH-1400 did not address prolifera- tion or terrorism. While substantial work has been done since WASH-1400 to advance the state-of-the art for applications of PRA to proliferation and terrorism, significant difficulties remain, and further research remains to be done. These difficulties include understanding and analyzing an intelligent, adaptive, and determined adversary using a structured meth - odology such as PRA, as noted in two recent National Research Council reports (NRC, 2010; NRC, 2011).
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20 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES Experts are still debating how best to analyze and understand the proliferation risks associated with nuclear fuel cycles, including the appropriate role of quantification. The appropriate balance of quantita- tive and qualitative assessments will need to be well-understood to avoid misunderstanding and misinterpretation. There is an important role for the quantification of certain aspects of risk, but quantification must be performed in combination with other qualitative and related factors and not used as the only approach. There are both strengths and limitations associated with using the output of proliferation risk (or resistance) assessments to inform policy decisions, whether using PRA or another method. At its best, such an assessment has the potential to: • Encourage a disciplined approach and a clear display of impor- tant information, including uncertainties; • Present information in an understandable form so that interested people can scrutinize and challenge the data and assumptions; • Provide qualitative insights about the structure and performance of complex systems; • Enable a deeper understanding of dependencies and interactions among different subsystems and components of the fuel cycle system; and • Give fresh, comparative perspectives on the relative advantages and disadvantages of various opportunities to reduce and control risks. On the other hand, such assessments have limitations, including: • The involvement of complex phenomena, including an intelli- gent, adaptive, and determined adversary; • Sparse data; • Limited models; • Large uncertainties; • Challenges associated with effective risk communication; and • Dangers associated with misinterpretation or misuse of results. DOE-NE is considering many potential future research directions for proliferation risk assessment, such as: • Leveraging university-based innovative research in the field of risk assessment, through Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP);
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21 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES • Utilizing cross-disciplinary teams (e.g., political scientists, social scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and communications spe - cialists in laboratories, industry, and academia); • Focusing on a cross-section of key topics and approaches; • Establishing standardized “benchmark problems” for consistent comparisons of different methods; • Performing prototypic evaluation studies of proliferation risks, focusing on a range of nuclear energy systems of interest to DOE; and • Providing guidance on metrics that can be used by systems ana- lysts to evaluate a multitude of fuel cycle options (along with other parameters such as economics, safety, and waste management). High-quality proliferation risk information is important to DOE-NE’s mission, whether it is quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both. In per- forming analyses relevant to proliferation risk, it is important to distin - guish clearly between risk assessment, which seeks to understand and identify the risks, and risk management, which seeks to minimize risks sub- ject to a range of factors, and is typically the domain of policy decisions. Quantitative measures have the potential to be valuable in risk assess- ment but must be used judiciously in risk management. Finally, strong coordination and dialogue among stakeholders will prove to be vital, whatever methods are used for risk assessment and risk management. Summary of Question and Answer Session Management vs. reduction of proliferation risk. Workshop com- mittee member William Charlton (Texas A&M University) noted that if nuclear power increases worldwide, it is possible that proliferation risk would increase. He asked Mr. McGinnis for his opinion regarding (1) whether it is possible to increase nuclear power worldwide while decreas- ing proliferation risk; and (2) if proliferation risk is likely to increase, then whether nuclear energy’s other benefits (e.g., climate change and economic benefits) are significant enough to justify managing these risks. In response, Mr. McGinnis stated that he thinks it is possible that inno - vative concepts and ideas might reduce the incentive to proliferate. For example, if used fuel removal becomes commercially available, many nations would likely avail themselves of this service, particularly those with only a few reactors. They would be likely to see a used fuel-removal service as a far superior economic and business opportunity compared with building their own long-term storage and repository sites, particu - larly given politically burdensome siting and public acceptance processes.
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22 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES As Deputy Secretary Poneman also observed, this could reduce the incen- tive to construct domestic fuel cycle facilities. The potential role of government in fuel management services. William Charlton also asked Mr. McGinnis for a summary of DOE-NE’s position on whether a government entity might provide a fuel manage- ment service, as the amount of risk involved is substantial for a commer- cial entity. In response, Mr. McGinnis stated that there is no assumption that such an entity should be entirely government operated or entirely commercially operated; however, he stated that some roles by government are necessary and inevitable, whether it involves third-country transfer approvals for nuclear materials or regulatory oversight. He further noted that in 20 years, he had never seen a better opportunity for alignment between commercial success involving commercial used fuel removal and long-term disposal and nonproliferation success related to support - ing expanded access while minimizing proliferation risks. However, how such a fuel management service might work will need to be developed on a case-by-case basis for specific customer needs and supplier capabilities, so it is hard to predict what the specific details of the final arrangement might be. U.S. NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION’S OFFICE OF NONPROLIFERATION AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY’S PERSPECTIVE ON PROLIFERATION RISK AND NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES Mark Whitney DOE-NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS) focuses primarily on host state proliferation, as does the current National Academies’ project and workshop. This is important because there are significant differences between the risk—and risk mitigation measures—associated with assessing and managing host state prolifera- tion compared to a sub-national threat. Host states are typically capable of a larger and more sustained technical proliferation effort than sub- national groups (such as terrorists). Moreover, the ultimate proliferation goals of host states and sub-national groups are often very different. The most obvious example of a host-state proliferation concern is the diversion of nuclear materials. However, NNSA’s concerns are broader than this; they are also concerned with the use of a particular nuclear fuel cycle technology in the context of a breakout scenario. Examples include misusing declared facilities and using existing or newly developed techni- cal capabilities to support clandestine facilities.
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23 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES The decision to proliferate requires both technical skill and political will. For this reason, managing proliferation requires both technical and political understanding. More often than not, decisions about whether or not to proliferate are based on specific and often dynamic political situa- tions. While there is value in examining nuclear fuel cycle technologies for characteristics that could make proliferation more difficult for a host state, work to date has shown that there is no technology that can completely eliminate the risk of proliferation by host states, although many tech - nologies may have a significant impact against sub-national threats. As a result, nuclear supplier guidelines and other institutional arrangements are the pillars of the current nonproliferation regime and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Several methodological questions were proposed as important con - siderations for discussing proliferation resistance and risk, both for the current workshop and for the follow-on consensus study. These questions include the following: • Is it possible to evaluate proliferation risk effectively, and is it valuable to do so? • Does the value of performing such an assessment outweigh the risks of performing it, particularly for a quantitative assessment? • If there is no silver bullet to eliminate proliferation concerns from nuclear facilities, how can technology best be used to minimize proliferation concerns? • If the time frames of concern for proliferation are measured in decades, what is the present-day utility of probabilistic risk assessment? • Is it possible to determine the risk of proliferation based on tech- nological considerations alone, and, if so, how can the conclusion be trusted when so many of the key factors involved in prolifera- tion are non-technical in nature? • How do we best understand the national and regional dynamics that might affect the misuse of technology? • Can analytical results be produced that are actionable? These questions relate to many currently pressing issues for NNSA. NNSA launched the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI) to develop the policies, concepts, technologies, expertise, and infrastructure necessary to sustain the international safeguards system over the coming decades. NGSI is a very complicated undertaking, and NNSA hopes that the workshop and the follow-on National Academies study will articulate a serious set of questions for NNSA to consider in this project. Such a list
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28 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES • What is “acceptable” risk? How is it defined? By whom? How is it expressed? • If technology is not considered to be the primary driver of prolif- eration risks, how far can you go in making technology choices based on risk studies? A U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Perspective on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Related Proliferation Risks John Harvey As noted in several of the previous discussions, the goal of strengthen- ing nonproliferation is at the top of the President’s agenda, as is prevent - ing terrorism related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Through the efforts of the U.S. government, warheads have been dismantled in the United States and in Russia, fissile material has been secured around the world, and nuclear security has been bolstered. In addition, peaceful uses of nuclear energy have been supported and have increased. Limiting proliferation and preventing WMD terrorism are complex problems, and multiple U.S. government agencies are involved in efforts to address them. DOE leads U.S. government efforts to reduce the prolif - eration risk associated with nuclear facilities, but the contributions from DoD, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and others are essential. The DoD is not as deeply involved in nonproliferation policy as DOE or the State Department. DoD’s work in nuclear security focuses more on weapons of mass destruction and threat reduction, particularly the retrieval of special nuclear material that is no longer under (national or international) regulatory or military control. DoD is primarily involved in situations that would occur after safeguards have failed and with situ- ations that involve protecting U.S. military interests. However, DoD does have several interests related to safeguards, proliferation, and civilian nuclear energy. First, IAEA safeguards and inspections have implications for DoD.8 The IAEA Additional Protocol9 allows access by inspection to all aspects of the fuel cycle: mining, fuel fabrication, waste storage, and other 8 Although participation in IAEA safeguards are voluntary for the United States, it participates to bolster the IAEA’s goal of preventing proliferation in non-weapons states. 9 The Additional Protocol is a legal document granting the IAEA complementary inspection authority to that provided in underlying safeguards agreements. A principal aim is to enable the IAEA inspectorate to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared activities. Under the Protocol, the IAEA is granted expanded rights of access to information and sites. (http://www.iaea.org)
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29 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES facilities where nuclear material is present. It is essential to balance the transparency required by IAEA safeguards with the costs of real secu- rity challenges: Specifically, to ensure sufficient transparency and access to sensitive facilities while (1) protecting against loss of economic and proprietary information that could undermine U.S. competitiveness; (2) protecting sensitive information; and (3) controlling the overall costs of transparency and access. Although DoD recognizes that safeguards are important, it is impor- tant to understand how safeguards impact DoD equities. The U.S. national security exclusion to the Additional Protocol (Article 1b) states: The United States shall apply, and permit the [International Atomic Energy] Agency to apply, this Protocol, excluding only instances where its application would result in access by the Agency to activities with direct national security significance to the United States or to locations or information associated with such activities. Thus, the IAEA is not permitted to hold safeguards inspections at DoD facilities. However, there are other facilities that may also need protection, and it is important to vet the list of facilities subject to IAEA inspection prior to the annual submission of this list to Congress.10 This is in part because other, non-nuclear technology or information may be sampled when an inspection team is present in a sensitive facility, which could be of concern. Second, recently DoD has been interested in understanding the fea- sibility of using nuclear power at U.S. military installations. Small reac - tors could easily support a brigade and would need refueling yearly or even less often, which could provide numerous benefits. For example, using small reactors in remote and hostile locations could reduce secu- rity requirements by limiting supply runs and the need to divert forces to guard fossil fuel convoys. Building nuclear power plants at military installations also has the potential to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Previous government experience and knowledge of next generation nuclear plant designs will be helpful in developing a nuclear plant that could meet these needs and, in particular, could enable the development of a compact and safe design with good security and reliability characteristics. 10 This list is required to be submitted to Congress under 22 USC Sec 8172, which states that: Not later than 60 days before submitting to the IAEA any revisions to the United States declaration submitted under the Additional Protocol, the President shall submit to Congress a list of any sites, locations, facilities, or activities in the United States that the President intends to add to or remove from the declaration, and a report thereon. (See Additional Protocol Implementation: http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/22C88.txt)
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30 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES Proliferation risk analysis will play an important role in bringing these power plants overseas—for example, nuclear power plants installed in hostile areas will require the best in safeguards, security, and prolifera - tion resistance. Instead of trying to retrofit the plants, these safeguards and security elements can be incorporated during the design phase. In addition, it is possible that better understanding of proliferation risk can help to better address the unique challenges associated with placing small reactors in a military situation prior to fielding. In the future, the United States will need an unencumbered source of low-enriched uranium to use in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s nuclear reactors to make tritium for nuclear warheads.11 In addition, although it is not immediate, the United States will eventually run out of highly enriched uranium (HEU). At this time, the United States will need to have modern domestic enrichment processes ready for use to fuel naval reactors. As a final comment on the overall topics of the workshop, quantitative risk assessment has barriers to overcome before it can be constructively applied to physical security and terrorism, as noted by two recent NRC reports (NRC, 2010; NRC, 2011). It is likely that many of the same short- comings—including an intelligent adversary and human unpredictability in protecting facilities—will also apply to the application of quantitative risk assessment to proliferation problems. However, the critiques are typi - cally not whether to use risk assessment, but how best to use the results of risk assessment as part of the policy process. A comparative study of different options might be the best use of quantitative risk assessment in proliferation and security. Insights from the U.S. Department of State Richard Stratford For the State Department, the technical aspects of proliferation resis - tance are not the key issue, but rather, the bottom line involves questions of international politics. The State Department—and the Office of Nuclear Energy, Safety, and Security in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation in particular—works to determine how to keep pro - liferation risk as low as possible while still doing what is necessary to sustain the nuclear fuel cycle. The essential message of U.S. nonproliferation policy is that it is important to prevent the unnecessary spread of sensitive nuclear tech- nologies. This does not mean that sensitive technologies should not be 11 Because tritium has a half-life of 12 years, new supplies must be continuously generated.
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31 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES used—many would argue that some use of sensitive nuclear technologies by those who have a need for them is acceptable. For example, enrichment has a use unless all nations choose to use CANDU reactors in the future. In this briefing, a sequence of examples are provided, both outlining the history of U.S. nonproliferation policy related to the nuclear fuel cycle and illustrating the types of day-to-day issues that policy makers face in this area. The history of U.S. nonproliferation policy associated with the nuclear fuel cycle has not been straightforward. Some believe that the history of U.S. nonproliferation policy began with President Carter’s decision to place a moratorium on reprocessing in the United States. However, prior to Carter’s decision, President Ford stated that the United States would need to decide whether it was going to reprocess used fuel. Carter stated that replacements for reprocessing would need to be found. At the time, a reprocessing facility was under construction in Barn- well, South Carolina, that was about to be licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC). The USNRC was told that the presi- dential policy was to avoid reprocessing, so the licensing process was stopped. Subsequently, the USNRC was sued for this decision, but the courts upheld the USNRC decision not to take the application. The Carter administration, along with its position toward domestic reprocessing, began to impose roadblocks related to Japanese and Euro- pean fuel cycle facilities. Upon taking office, the Reagan administration devised an alternative solution to preserve the United States’ Japanese and European relations on this topic. At the time, Congress was insisting that the administration renegotiate all its international agreements related to peaceful nuclear cooperation to include a long list of requirements. The Reagan administration worked out new agreements for these countries, including all the Congressional controls and giving the U.S. consent rights over reprocessing of U.S. origin fuel. In return, the United States agreed to give consent to nuclear fuel reprocessing and plutonium storage for the life of the agreements. For new facilities that could not be foreseen at the time, an automatic process was agreed on. In addition, these agree- ments were written in a way that assured foreign governments that the agreement could not shift completely when U.S. policy changed. This way of handling the difficult diplomatic issue worked both for Japan and for Europe. More recently, President George W. Bush recommended that the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) ban the transfer of reprocessing and enrichment technologies to all countries without currently operating facil- ities. However, the NSG was unwilling to accommodate such a ban. As a result, a criteria-based approach was developed. For export of nuclear fuel cycle technology to a country, a number of criteria regarding safety
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32 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES and security had to be met. Beyond this, three additional criteria apply: (1) the supplier can consider other criteria beyond those specified; (2) the supplier must reacquire an IAEA Additional Protocol complementing the safeguards agreements;12 and (3) for enrichment, the technology must operate as a “black box.” The next big issue to emerge was the Indian nuclear cooperation agreement. India has three reprocessing facilities and wanted consent from the United States regarding these facilities. The Bush Administration agreed to give consent with two conditions: 1. India was asked to build an all-new state-of-the-art reprocessing facility permanently dedicated to safeguarded reprocessing; and 2. India was not to reprocess until a second agreement was put in place setting out terms and procedures relevant to reprocessing. The negotiations with India began not long after conclusion of the agree - ment, and the final draft was sent to Congress as a subsequent agreement. However, it was challenging to determine how to set terms and conditions for the agreement. NESS solved this difficulty by asking DOE and the U.S. National Laboratories to provide a page-long document describing state-of-the-art safeguards. This description was crafted into an agreement for India. These negotiations not only involved technical expertise, but also common sense. For example, India asked for consent on two reprocessing facilities, rather than the one that was in the original agreement. The State Department recommended this request be accommodated, because the first facility was located far north on the subcontinent, while the second facility was located in the south. Having two facilities would prevent India from needing to move used fuel across the entire subcontinent, reducing the possibility that a shipment of fresh or used fuel would be diverted. Once the India negotiations were complete, the next challenge was negotiation of a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Obama Administration determined that, in order to approve a nuclear cooperation agreement with the UAE, there would need to be a legally binding commitment to not have enrichment or reprocessing plants on UAE soil even if the plant in question did not use 12 An Additional Protocol is “a legal document complementing comprehensive safeguards agreements. The measures enable the IAEA not only to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material but also to provide assurances as to the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State” (IAEA, 2011). See http://www.iaea.org/Publications/ Factsheets/English/sg_overview.html
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33 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES technology exported from the United States, and thus was not subject to U.S. consent. The UAE voiced concerns about their options for managing spent fuel in that situation. The United States responded that the spent fuel could be sent to the U.K. or to France for reprocessing; however, no MOX fuel or plutonium would be returned to the UAE. The UAE accepted this agreement. However, following the UAE agreement, some in Congress decided that this same solution should be applied to any new nation that negoti - ates a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States. However, each agreement needs to be managed on a case-by-case basis, and a blanket requirement could create difficulties in successful negotiations. It should be recognized that other suppliers of nuclear technologies will not make the same concessions, and it is certain that if the United States is not willing to engage with a particular nation, others will be. Currently, several new technologies are posing challenges, particu- larly pyroprocessing and uranium enrichment using lasers to separate the isotopes (Separation of Isotopes by Laser Excitation, also known as SILEX). Initially, pyroprocessing was thought to provide good opportuni- ties for reprocessing without easy access to weapons-usable material, but that no longer appears to be the case. SILEX appears to have the capacity to make enriching uranium much cheaper, which could be good for the U.S. economy, but it may also pose proliferation risks. There are a number of potentially dangerous technologies, both nuclear and non-nuclear (e.g., nanotech, biotech). However, the solution for non-nuclear technologies is not typically to stop using the technology; this is not a reasonable solution for nuclear technology, either. Summary of Question and Answer Session The briefings from the policy panelists were followed by a lively Q&A session. In the section to follow, some key comments, questions, and responses that were brought up during this session are summarized. Policy questions for DOE-NE. Warren (Pete) Miller (Texas A&M University) noted that DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy is the lead pro - gram on the back end of the fuel cycle and is charged with developing the right back-end technology for the United States to deploy domesti - cally. The attributes that will be used to make these decisions include: uranium availability, cost, technical maturity, physical security impacts, environmental impacts, repository availability, and also, proliferation risk impacts. He stated that it is important to be cautious regarding the pro- liferation risk impacts of domestically-deployed technologies for two key reasons. First, if such a technology is deployed, this could have an impact
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34 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES as to whether other nations choose to deploy it. Second, whoever deploys the technology is likely to want to export it commercially. These factors are both a part of DOE-NE’s R&D decision-making. It would be useful if the overall National Academies project on proliferation risk (not simply the workshop) is able to help DOE-NE to determine how to use prolifera - tion risk to inform its decisions on technology choices. There is significant disagreement about the proliferation resistance of different technologies, and some additional clarity would be valuable. The essential role of safeguards. Corey Hinderstein (Nuclear Threat Initiative) noted that there was a great deal of conversation about safe- guards in the preceding briefings. However, safeguards do not prevent proliferation, with the potential exception of deterrence, but instead allow the international community to know about proliferation activities. Both Mr. Lockwood and Dr. Harvey agreed with the observation. Mr. Lockwood noted that the stated objective of safeguards was not to prevent prolifera- tion, but rather to “detect” diversion of a significant quantity of nuclear material in a timely manner and to deter such diversion by increasing the risk of early detection. Both Mr. Lockwood and Dr. Harvey underlined the importance of safeguards as one part of a greater strategy to intercept and prevent the diversion of nuclear materials. Mr. Lockwood empha - sized the importance of considering the safeguardability of new designs to complicate a proliferator’s task, promote early detection, and provide time for other measures to intervene. Similarly, Dr. Harvey emphasized the importance of safeguards as an early-warning system: “If something bad is about to happen, we need to know… if safeguards tell you you’ve lost ten kilograms of HEU weeks later, that is much less manageable than days or hours later.” The value of standardization. Jon Phillips (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) observed that much of the discussion during the panel was about quantification, but that in his view, it would be more valuable to—in whatever way necessary—standardize the approach to assessing proliferation risk among different agencies and among different problems. It would be useful to agree upon certain factors as requirements for the assessment, and agree on a scope (e.g., a state-specific analysis is required). Mr. Lockwood replied that although at first this seems reason- able, in his view, standardization is in fact very difficult to handle in prac - tice. The world situation is dynamic, a lot of different and often unique factors need to be taken into account, and state behavior can often change dramatically in a short period of time.
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35 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES U.S. leadership in the fuel cycle. Steven Skutnik (North Carolina State University) asked how the United States would be able to take on a leadership role in integrated fuel cycle services in the absence of a U.S. plan for the back end of its fuel cycle. In response, Mr. Stratford com - mented that spent fuel management is difficult due to politics. There are some areas in which the United States cannot lead, and others where it may. An example of the latter is future fuel cycles involving reprocessing; however, without a clear end state for the nuclear waste, reprocessing could also eventually encounter difficulties. Mr. Lockwood added that in the coming decades, we may find some transformational science and technology that will solve the problem, but the back end of the fuel cycle is a very vexing challenge right now. Plutonium and current reactors. Emory Collins (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) asked why the United States and the international commu - nity are not concerned with the production of plutonium in their efforts to safeguard nuclear technology, in a situation where nuclear reactors themselves—not just the fuel cycle facilities—are producing plutonium all around the world. Mr. Stratford responded that this is a very differ- ent problem, and that to his knowledge, no plutonium from commercial light water reactors has ever gone into explosive use. Nations that have pursued weapons programs have done so with indigenous or illegally acquired materials. In addition, beyond concerns about nonproliferation, there are other concerns that must be balanced. For example, it must be considered whether it would be better to have a nation with significant energy needs—such as India or China—build 50 new nuclear plants, or instead, 50 new coal plants with their attendant greenhouse gases. Innovative approaches for proliferation risk assessment. Mark Mullen (Los Alamos National Laboratory), referring to Dr. Harvey’s briefing, commented that the Department of Defense performs extensive assessments as part of its planning and evaluation processes. Because of the nature of DoD’s mission, these assessments must take account of the challenge of understanding and analyzing intelligent, adaptive, and determined adversaries. Since that type of adversary must also be ana - lyzed in proliferation risk assessments, Mr. Mullen asked Dr. Harvey if there are novel or innovative methods that the DoD uses that might be transferred or adapted to proliferation risk assessments. Dr. Harvey noted that a recent National Academies report address- ing security in the DOE nuclear weapons complex (NRC, 2011) included extensive discussion of the challenges posed by intelligent, adaptive, and determined adversaries, and he suggested that some of the methods
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36 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES described in that report, such as red team/blue team analysis,13 might be applicable to proliferation risk assessments. Dr. Harvey responded that he is uncertain if such approaches are currently in use, but that the dynamic part of the risk assessment process is important. When proliferation risk or resistance is discussed, one must consider the likelihood that a terrorist team or a host state actor might go down a particular proliferation route as opposed to other routes. The value of quantitative analysis is that it is structured, and the assumptions can be transparent. If this type of analysis is combined with a red team analysis, this could be very helpful. Mr. Mullen agreed that red team/blue team analysis is indeed a good approach. He said he was familiar with DoD applications where it had been used to good effect, and he suggested that it be applied more widely in proliferation risk assessments, as one part of a more comprehensive, multifaceted analysis. 13 A red team activity involves an unannounced assessment of security and readiness by an unfamiliar team of operators with no awareness or support from the assessed target. The goal of a red team is to try to think like the adversary and use information, incentives, and capabilities that he or she would have to the maximum extent possible.
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37 POLICY MAKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON KEY NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES Box The Genie is out of the Bottle: Low- Cost Centrifuge Enrichment Olli Heinonen, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs For nuclear weapons proliferation, a mastery of technology beyond that re- quired to build nuclear power plants is necessary. This can take the form of either back-end fuel cycle technology (reprocessing) or front-end fuel cycle technology (enrichment). However, this discussion will focus on the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle, more specifically, on low-cost uranium centrifuge enrichment. There are four questions to be asked with respect to the proliferation threat from low-cost centrifuge enrichment: • What information is out there? • Who has the information? • What can someone do with it? • What can be done about this? First, it is known that a complete set of information on type P-1 and P-21 cen- trifuges is available on the black market, as well as information on at least three nuclear weapon designs and the conversion of enriched uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6, the typical output of centrifuge enrichment) to metal components, all thanks to A.Q. Khan. Other players connected to the A.Q. Khan network have made avail- able additional centrifuge designs from the 1980s using composite rotor materials and magnetic bearings as well as information on UF6 production processes, feed, and withdrawal systems. Second, it is known that Libya, Iran, and North Korea have received some part of this information, and that the information was offered to Iraq, Syria, and potentially others. With this information, it is possible for a state to build centrifuges, enrich UF6 gas to HEU, convert the UF6 to uranium metal, and ultimately, construct a nuclear weapon. A scenario for producing HEU using this technology is as follows. A state might use as the original feed 2,400 kg of UF6 gas enriched to 4 percent uranium-235, a typical enrichment for nuclear power plant fuel. Then it would be possible to proceed stepwise using the centrifuge designs supplied by A.Q. Khan, enriching from 4 percent to 20 percent, then 20 percent to 60 percent, then 60 percent to 90 percent, until weapons-grade HEU is produced. The UF6 could then be converted to metal using the information from A.Q. Khan. 1 Pakistan developed the P-1 and P-2 centrifuge designs based on the Soviet Zippe-type design. 2 The IR-2M is an Iranian centrifuge design that was reportedly installed at Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility in July 2011. See http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/iran-reportedly- installing-advanced-centrifuges/. continued
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38 PROLIFERATION RISK IN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES Box Continued This entire process could take under a year. Using 2095 type IR-2m centri- fuges,2 step 1 (4 to 20 percent enrichment) would require 10 cascades of 131 centrifuges each and approximately 2 months. Step 2 (20 to 60 percent enrich- ment) would require 3 cascades of 179 centrifuges each and about 0.9 months. Step 3 (60 to 90 percent enrichment) would require 2 cascades of 124 centrifuges and only 0.4 months. Preparing the metal components would only require one ad- ditional month. In total, the time from completion of the centrifuges to availability of uranium metal components would be about 4.3 months for the first batch. A second batch could be produced 2 months following the first batch, and a third batch 2 months following the second batch, culminating in the production of 69.5 kgs of 90 percent enriched uranium metal components in only 9 months total. The final question, then, is what can be done about this situation? Detecting such a program requires an all-source information analysis coupled with substan- tial international cooperation. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will need to use all of its authorities to meet its objectives and maintain a highly robust verification scheme. The international community will need to use all means to enforce the IAEA and United Nations Security Council efforts. Finally, it is possible that embarking on nuclear cooperation could change the narrative of future nuclear discourse.