The National Academies, working with the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), will convene an Indian-U.S. workshop to identify and examine potential areas for scientific and technical cooperation between the United States and India on issues related to nuclear material security. The workshop may provide options for work that is of mutual interest for technical collaboration under the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding for the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP).
PROJECT CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVES
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. 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 in working with India’s Centre. According to the White House, “In working with India’s Centre, the United States intends to give priority to discus-
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.
sion 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
The Indian-U.S. workshop will identify and examine potential areas for substantive scientific and technical cooperation between the United States and India on issues related to nuclear material security. The parties involved hope that by doing so they will help to establish scientist-to-scientist contacts between experts in nuclear materials management in the United States and counterparts in India, build confidence in cooperation on nuclear security issues, and identify concrete, technically based areas for potential future collaboration, which could be the foundation for progress on the Centre.
The agenda for the workshop will be developed with Indian counterparts, but could include a variety of technical issues in nuclear materials management, such as nuclear materials safeguards, detection, monitoring, and nuclear forensics. The United States has active research programs on each of these topics, as well as related ones. The workshop will enable Indian experts to describe their work and plans for future activities. Because the workshop report will be a summary, the group will not prioritize the options discussed.
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.