Kenneth Luongo and Michelle Cann
The 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits (NSS) have established global fissile material security as a top-level international objective and led many to consider whether today’s nuclear material security regime is adequately adapted to the twenty-first century’s globalized threat environment. While the regime has improved over the last decade, its development still lags behind other nuclear regimes for safety, safeguards, and arms control. The current nuclear security regime relies almost entirely on the national protection and control systems of countries that possess nuclear and radiological materials and facilities to protect the public from unintended releases of radiation. However, there is growing appreciation of the limitations of this approach and recognition that a more global, integrated, and comprehensive response is needed.
The lead up to the 2014 NSS in the Netherlands is a window of opportunity for global leaders, industry representatives, and nuclear experts to work together to develop new strategies and policies for improving global nuclear security. Seizing this opportunity will require defining an effective and obtainable end goal for improving nuclear security and identifying practical steps to reach that objective. This is a task that will necessitate creative thinking, better stakeholder integration, and political will among global leaders to break new ground.