•   Potential saboteurs can utilize a protest by mixing with activists and demonstrators who could gain entry. Understanding how to address materials security in these scenarios is an area of potential discussion for U.S. and Indian experts.

Technologies and Physical Security of Nuclear Materials: An Indian Perspective

Ranajit Kumar described technologies for physical security of nuclear material (see Table 3-1). He began by noting that India’s commitment to security of nuclear material comes from the highest levels of the government, illustrated by the statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh explaining that the Indian Atomic Energy Act1 provides the legal framework for securing nuclear materials and facilities and committing India to developing a Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, one element of which will be a school for nuclear materials security. In addition, India is a party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 amendments.2

The major concern about nuclear material primarily derives from the fact that it can be used to make nuclear explosive devices, which can be highly catastrophic. Nuclear sabotage, a major concern for nuclear facilities like nuclear power plants, can also be catastrophic. A dirty bomb or radiological dispersal device is not a weapon of mass destruction, but a weapon of “mass disruption.” Nuclear security has five key components, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative: quantity and sites, security and control measures, global norms, domestic compliance

TABLE 3-1 Potential targets worldwide that require nuclear security. Compiled by Kumar from International Atomic Energy Agency data.

Number of items Type of Item
25000 nuclear weapons
3000 tons civil and military HEU and Pu
480 research reactors (>160 with HEU)
100 fuel cycle facilities
440 operating nuclear power plants
100000 Cat I and II radioactive sources
1000000 Cat III radioactive sources


1 The Department of Atomic Energy, The Atomic Energy Act, 1962. Available at http://dae.nic.in/?q=node/153. Accessed September 3, 2013.

2 IAEA. 1980. Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. Available at: http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Conventions/cppnm.html. Accessed September 20, 2013.

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