The current global system for securing nuclear materials has major gaps that prevent it from being comprehensive and effective: No common set of international standards and best practices exists, there is no mechanism for holding states with lax security accountable, and the legal foundation for securing materials is neither complete nor universally observed. Most worrying, as my center reported in our own state of play on nuclear weapons last year, 83 percent of all fissile stocks are military materials and thus remain outside existing international security mechanisms. Moreover, participation in international peer review — a very effective tool for improving performance and building confidence in others about the integrity of a state’s security remains —limited: only 16 of the 24 states with weapons-usable nuclear materials have had a nuclear security peer review in the past five years, and seven have never had one. An act of sabotage against a nuclear facility could result in a significant radiological release, similar in scale to the release when a tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. The 2016 index for the first time assesses nuclear security conditions related to the protection of nuclear facilities against acts of sabotage for 45 countries with nuclear power plants or research reactors. The index finds troubling shortfalls in how well countries are protecting nuclear facilities against sabotage and the emerging threat of cyberattacks. Twenty states lack even basic requirements to protect nuclear facilities from cyberattacks and score zero. Too many countries remain unprepared to deal with cyberattacks that might lead to sabotage.
Japan Times 20th Jan 2016 read more »