Improving Nuclear Security Governance through the Nuclear Security Summits

Kenneth N. Luongo

Credit: IAEA

Credit: IAEA

The Nuclear Security Summits (NSS), an important innovation in the fight against nuclear terrorism, have not yet reached their full potential of eliminating weak links in the global nuclear control system. The upcoming summit in The Hague in 2014 followed by the final summit in Washington in 2016 offers a tandem opportunity to strengthen the existing system and set the foundation for a significantly improved nuclear security regime by the end of the decade. This result would be the signature achievement of the summit process.

The NSS participants have proceeded cautiously at the first two summits in Washington in 2010 and Seoul in 2012. However, an important hallmark of the process has been that the scope of the nuclear security issue has grown with each event. Washington focused almost exclusively on fissile materials. Seoul expanded the scope to include the interface between safety and security at nuclear facilities and the protection of high activity radioactive sources that can be used in “dirty bombs.” But, the security governance system for the global nuclear enterprise is in need of substantial improvement and this issue should be the major addition to The Hague Summit in March.

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