For more than two decades, beginning first with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, followed by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States, and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, increasing attention has been paid to the security of nuclear materials around the world. A growing number of nations recognized a need for higher levels of security for civilian nuclear materials, such as uranium ore concentrate, low-enriched and especially highly enriched uranium, uranium fuel, plutonium used in power or research reactors, spent fuel from reactors, and other materials that can fission. The workshop summarized in the following chapters focused on all types of civilian nuclear materials (those that emit radiation but do not fission), with the exception of radiological materials, choosing to emphasize those nuclear materials that are frequently used in power facilities, research facilities, reprocessing facilities, and other facilities associated with nuclear power generation and/or research activities.
With the aim of enhancing the security of these nuclear materials, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), together with the National Institute for Advanced Studies in Bangalore (NIAS), organized and convened a workshop entitled, “India-United States Cooperation on Global Security: A Workshop on Technical Aspects of Civilian Nuclear Materials Security,” held October 29-31, 2012 in Bangalore, India, on the NIAS campus. The goal for the workshop is described succinctly in the statement of task in Box S-1.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES FOR JOINT WORKSHOP
The workshop consisted of sessions on the following topics: an overview of civilian nuclear materials; a systems approach to security; physical security at civilian nuclear facilities; cybersecurity at civilian nuclear facilities; the importance of people in security of civilian nuclear facilities; nuclear forensics; nuclear energy and the challenge of development in India; and a systems approach to security at civilian nuclear facilities. Each of these sessions is described in a chapter of the
summary bearing the same name. To focus these sessions and discussions, NAS and NIAS developed the following goals and objectives for the joint workshop:
• To build mutual understanding of how experts in India and the United States approach issues of civilian nuclear materials management and security;
• To establish contacts among Indian and U.S. scientists and experts on nuclear materials security and to enhance confidence in cooperation on nuclear security issues; and
• To identify concrete, technically-based areas for potential future collaboration between the technical experts of India and the United States, including through the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership.
BOX S.1: STATEMENT OF TASK
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences working with the Indian National Institute for Advanced Studies will convene a joint 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 identify options for work that is of mutual interest for technical collaboration under the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding for the Indian Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership. The agenda for the workshop will be developed jointly 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 National Academy of Sciences will provide an individually-authored summary of the workshop.
KEY ISSUES FROM WORKSHOP
The key issues noted here are some of those raised by individual workshop participants, and do not in any way indicate consensus of workshop participants overall.
Introduction and Overview of Civilian Nuclear Materials
• Civilian nuclear material is found in many countries around the world, although exact quantities are not known.
• Even countries that do not have fissile materials may be used as transit countries for illicit transport of nuclear materials.
• Finding a balance between public concerns about nuclear energy and the need for greater electrical capacity is extremely difficult at present. These challenges increased sharply immediately after the situation with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the tsunami on March 11, 2011.
• Planning for the expansion of nuclear power in India as a part of the larger energy picture to support economic growth more broadly in the context of a growing population, much of which is rural, is very challenging.
• In the long term, India is working to develop proliferation-resistant fuel cycles.
• Public acceptance of the use of nuclear materials for nuclear power is based on experts’ assurances that nuclear materials will remain under control and appropriate use, and that the public will not be harmed either by a safety incident or a security incident.
• Using technologies and techniques for material control and accounting to balance and complement nuclear security is how operators maintain as much control over the nuclear material as possible, while still being able to use it for its intended purposes.
Systems Approach to Security at Civilian Nuclear Facilities
• Weapons-usable material must be kept out of the hands of adversaries who may be trying to get their hands on this material and could use it for malevolent actions.
• No material is absolutely safe, and any material is vulnerable at some level.
• Nuclear security is a continuous, dynamic risk management job and requires constant and vigorous efforts.
• Program resources are to be used for both safety and security. The balance of risk and security as well as the balance of resources needs to be maintained to not undermine employees’ interest in maintaining high quality science as well as vigilance of safety and security measures.
• In India, the primary security concern at civilian nuclear facilities is sabotage.
• Several safety features can be incorporated into reactors, which also aid security.
• Material categorization is also essential to the security design process because there is a direct relationship between the protection required and the quantity of the material and its enrichment level.
• Apart from resource extension, the closed fuel cycle can be designed to be more proliferation resistant.
Physical Security at Civilian Nuclear Facilities
• Nuclear security has three distinct steps: (1) define the requirements, (2) design the physical protection system based on the requirements, and (3) evaluate the physical protection system to assess whether it meets the performance requirements.
• The most difficult adversaries to address using the physical protection system are terrorists, but activists and demonstrators are also difficult because of the ambiguity of their actions and intentions.
• The insider threat is a worldwide concern for nuclear security because an adversary with a colluding insider is very dangerous.
• The vulnerability assessment process can be divided into three broad phases: characterization (target identification); analysis (identifying vulnerabilities); and neutralization and system effectiveness.
Cybersecurity at Civilian Nuclear Facilities
• Cybersecurity refers to the prevention, detection, and mitigation of unauthorized attempts to control or disable computers and electronic control systems as well as protection of information in computer databases.
• Cybersecurity for a nuclear facility can be divided into two parts: instrument and control security, and facility network security. There are several differences between these parts of security, including different methodologies, mechanisms, and the effect of failure in each domain.
• Cybersecurity is commonly understood to have three attributes: confidentiality, availability, and integrity.
• Security risks cannot be reduced to zero. Managing instrument and control security requires a systematic, comprehensive, and dynamic methodology.
• Every day new viruses, new vulnerabilities, and new problems are found with the systems.
The Importance of People in Securing Civilian Nuclear Facilities
• Every person, from a custodian to a technician to a scientist to a guard in the protective force, needs to believe in and support the nuclear security program for it to succeed. This is nuclear security culture.
• The driving motivations for the Indian Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) are first global cooperation and second the technical issues of safety, security, and proliferation resistant design as the three pillars on which the Centre will stand.
• Specifically, the GCNEP School for Radiological Safety Studies is designed to contribute significantly to nuclear security, particularly in the area of radiation sources.
• Unless we update ourselves, unless the security forces, the response forces, the guard forces, and the security operators update themselves with the current threat scenarios, with current practices, with current systems and techniques used, and also with regulatory procedures or by other requirements, it will not be possible to maintain proper and effective nuclear security.
The Emerging Science of Nuclear Forensics
• There are strong scientific capabilities in nuclear forensic science but our ability to interpret these data is still in a state of development.
• Expanded databases with information on nuclear material around the world are needed.
• Greater understanding of how materials change as they undergo reprocessing and other processes is needed.
• No single technique provides the needed information for all or even any material.
• Nonproliferation nuclear forensics requires a focused international cooperative effort.
Implementing Systems Approaches to Security at Civilian Nuclear Facilities
• Security is a national responsibility but has international dimensions.
• Communication with the public is important because in an accident or disaster scenario, there is not time to really explain thoroughly.
• Decision making in an unexpected emergency scenario would involve multiple players: political leaders, operators, regulators, bureacrats, politicians, representatives of the local community, and others.
• The balance between research and security interests is at times difficult to define and maintain.
Nuclear Energy and the Challenge of Development in India
• India faces many acute challenges of energy development, which has caused the country’s leaders to consider India’s indigenous energy sources and how it can increase energy supply to better meet the exponentially expanding energy demand.
• Given this demand, India has chosen to pursue nuclear energy as a source of energy, and is planning a rapid expansion of the nuclear power sector in the coming decades.
• Green scenarios (solar, nuclear, or a combination) should be considered.
• Development deficits and lack of sufficient energy are also issues that could create their own security problems over time.
• India has chosen to develop a closed fuel cycle because of its limited domestic sources of uranium.
BUILDING ON THE SUCCESS OF THE WORKSHOP
Technical experts in a variety of fields associated with civilian nuclear materials security provided presentations and engaged in frank discussions. These experts were chosen by the workshop organizers from the national laboratories, academia, and non-governmental organizations of their respective countries. Over the course of the three-day workshop they provided their perspectives, knowledge and experience and shared ideas for possible future joint collaborations in this area between India and the United States. The concluding session of the workshop identified initial areas of possible cooperation that emerged through the presentations and discussions.