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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2013. Improving the Assessment of the Proliferation Risk of Nuclear Fuel Cycles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18335.
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Appendix C: Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study and prepare a report for the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding potential research and development (R&D) directions for improving the assessment of the host state proliferation risk of nuclear fuel cycle facilities. The study will:

1. Identify key proliferation policy questions capable of being answered by a technical assessment of the host-state proliferation risk posed by a given nuclear fuel cycle, and discuss the utility of these questions for informing international nonproliferation policy decisions;

2. Assess the utility for decision makers of existing and historical methodologies and metrics used by DOE and others (such as the International Atomic Energy Agency) for assessing proliferation risk, both for considering the deployment of these facilities domestically as well as the implications of deployment outside the United States;

3. Assess the potential for adapting risk assessment methodologies developed in other contexts (such as safety and security) to host-state proliferation risk assessments—including both qualitative and quantitative approaches—their benefits, limitations, and the challenges associated with adapting these methodologies to proliferation risk assessment;

4. Identify R&D and other opportunities for improving the utility for decision-makers of current and potential new approaches to the assessment of proliferation risk; and

5. Identify and assess options for effectively communicating proliferation risk information to government and industry decision makers, as well as the public and the NGO community both within the United States and internationally.

This study will not address the risk associated with the physical security of the facility or materials against attack, theft, or diversion of nuclear materials. The study may examine policy options but will not make specific policy recommendations.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2013. Improving the Assessment of the Proliferation Risk of Nuclear Fuel Cycles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18335.
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The material that sustains the nuclear reactions that produce energy can also be used to make nuclear weapons—and therefore, the development of nuclear energy is one of multiple pathways to proliferation for a non-nuclear weapon state. There is a tension between the development of future nuclear fuel cycles and managing the risk of proliferation as the number of existing and future nuclear energy systems expands throughout the world. As the Department of Energy (DOE) and other parts of the government make decisions about future nuclear fuel cycles, DOE would like to improve proliferation assessments to better inform those decisions.

Improving the Assessment of the Proliferation Risk of Nuclear Fuel Cycles considers how the current methods of quantification of proliferation risk are being used and implemented, how other approaches to risk assessment can contribute to improving the utility of assessments for policy and decision makers. The study also seeks to understand the extent to which technical analysis of proliferation risk could be improved for policy makers through research and development.

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