Cooperation on Global Security
Summary of a Workshop on Technical Aspects of
Civilian Nuclear Materials Security
Rita Guenther, Micah Lowenthal,
Rajaram Nagappa, and Nabeel Mancheri
Committee on India-United States Cooperation on Global Security:
Technical Aspects of Civilian Nuclear Materials Security
Committee on International Security and Arms Control
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
In Cooperation with the National Institute
for Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This project was supported by Contract/Grant No. 4000112326 UT-Battelle, LLC. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number 13: 978-0-309-28976-4
International Standard Book Number 10: 0-3069-28976-9
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COMMITTEE ON INDIA-UNITED STATES COOPERATION ON TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF CIVILIAN NUCLEAR MATERIALS SECURITY: A WORKSHOP
Raymond Jeanloz, Chair, University of California, Berkeley
Stephen P. Cohen, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.
Cherry Murray, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
William H. Press, University of Texas, Austin
National Research Council Staff
Rita S. Guenther, Study Director
Micah D. Lowenthal, Director, Committee on International Security and Arms Control
Heather Chiarello, Senior Program Assistant
La’Faye Lewis-Oliver, Administrative Coordinator
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Preface and Acknowledgments
The U.S. government has made safeguarding of weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium an international policy priority and convened the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., on April 12 and 13, 2010. Forty-six governments sent delegations to the summit and twenty nine of them made national commitments to support nuclear security. During the Summit, India announced its commitment to establish a Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, which includes a school on nuclear material security among its five major components. The Centre is to be open to international participation through academic exchanges, training, and research and development efforts.
The Centre is “aimed at strengthening India’s cooperation with the international community in the areas of advanced nuclear energy systems, nuclear security, radiological safety and radiation technology applications in areas such as health, food and industry”.1 In November 2010, the United States and India signed a memorandum of understanding that provides a general framework for cooperative activities under India’s Centre. According to the White House, “In working with India’s Centre, the United States intends to give priority to discussion of best practices on the security of nuclear material and facilities, development of international nuclear security training curricula and programs, conduct outreach with nuclear industry, and cooperation on other nuclear security activities as mutually determined”.2
As India builds its Centre, and as the United States endeavors to fulfill its commitment to assist in the development of the Centre, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), together with its partner of more than 15 years, the National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore, India, held a joint Indian-U.S. workshop to identify and examine potential areas for substantive scientific
1 Government of India. Ministry of Science and Technology. 13 August 2010. “Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership.” Available at: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=64718. Accessed September 20, 2013.
2 U.S. Government. The White House Office of the Press Secretary. 8 November 2010. “Fact Sheet on U.S.-India Nuclear Security Partnership.” Available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/india-factsheets/Fact_Sheet_on_Nuclear_Security.pdf. Accessed September 20, 2013.
and technical cooperation between the two countries on issues related to nuclear material security. Because of decades-long legal restrictions regarding U.S. cooperation with India on nuclear technology, the Indian and U.S. nuclear energy and technology enterprises developed independently. The aim of this workshop was to convene technical experts from India and the United States, to begin discussions about nuclear material security, and to identify promising opportunities for India and the United States to learn from each other and cooperate.
In preparation for the workshop, NAS formed a planning committee, headed by Raymond Jeanloz, comprised of prominent scientists, engineers, and a South Asia expert. The planning committee members and NAS staff worked collaboratively with nuclear material security experts, NIAS leadership, and faculty to develop the agenda for the workshop. The National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) is a premier research institute in India, founded in 1988 and located in Bangalore. NIAS is engaged in multi-disciplinary research and is unique in its integrated approach to the study of the intersections between science and technology, social issues, humanities and leadership. The International Strategic and Security Studies Program (ISSSP) at NIAS has been active since 1996. Research conducted by faculty and students of the Program emphases science and technology issues and their integration with policy as well as organizational and institutional arrangements. ISSSP is a Track-II dialogue partner with the Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Over more than 15 years, the series of dialogue meetings has contributed to a better understanding of bilateral strategic issues.
During a planning trip taken by NAS planning committee members and staff in June 2012, the two groups met and refined the agenda, identified potential speakers, and determined other elements of the workshop. In addition, during the planning trip, the NAS delegation met with key officials in the Government of India who provided their support for and input to the workshop.
Following the planning trip, the two groups finalized the agenda for the joint workshop, held on the NIAS campus October 29-31, 2012, which included a variety of technical issues in nuclear materials management, such as nuclear materials accounting, cybersecurity, physical security, and nuclear forensics. The workshop enabled Indian and U.S. experts to describe their work and plans for future activities on each topic.
The following summary intentionally includes a large portion of the material discussed during the workshop to provide readers with extensive insights into the views of the Indian and U.S. participants. An overarching theme which emerged from this detailed discussion was the difference of views faced in India between the need to develop greater energy capacity to expand economic growth and development for the country’s population overall, and at times strong opposition to nuclear power by Indians concerned about the safety and security of the facilities. This tension was also experienced in the United States when nuclear power grew there in previous decades. A second theme that emerged was the different development paths taken by India and the United States as their nuclear programs grew, largely in isolation from one another. As a result, the technical approaches detailed
here will be of interest to many readers. For those readers interested in a higher level overview of the workshop discussions, key messages and promising topics for collaboration arising from the presentations and discussions have been added at the beginning of each topical chapter.
The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) funded NAS to conduct this workshop. Oak Ridge National Laboratory handled the contract for NNSA. In addition, the U.S. Department of State, Sandia National Laboratory, and the Patel Endowment at the NAS funded the travel costs for several U.S. participants. NIAS provided substantial financial support for the workshop by providing housing and meals for participants as well as providing the facilities and administrative and technical support for the workshop. The generous support of all sponsors is greatly appreciated.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Ian Hutcheon, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; L.V. Krishnan, National Institute for Advanced Studies; George Perkovich, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Shri A.R. Sundararajan, Safety Research Institute.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the rapporteur(s) and the institution.
Technical experts of both India and the United States, as demonstrated during this workshop, seek opportunities to work together on issues related to nuclear materials security. While the task of securing these materials is vast, so too is the experience and expertise available in our two countries to meet this challenge. Joint efforts such as this workshop provide the basis for India and the United States to continue to learn from each other, to exchange ideas for collaborative efforts, and to increase the confidence and support necessary to take their cooperation farther as they secure civilian nuclear materials in their respective countries.
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