In 2014, the Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation initiative transitioned from a Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) product to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Information Circular 869 (INFCIRC/869). It has the support of 38 states that have committed to fully implement the IAEA’s nuclear and radiological security documents, continuously improve national and operators’ systems, and ensure that all nuclear management and staff are competent and accountable. The INFCIRC/869 has the potential to enhance international nuclear security norms, but it currently lacks a method for states to report on their progress.

The Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation Checklist was developed by the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group (NSGEG) to help states understand, and share information on, the activities required to fully implement INFCIRC/869. It offers a practical tool for states to self-assess their national nuclear security systems and build confidence in their stewardship of nuclear assets. The three-page document was sent to the Washington, D.C.-based embassies of all 38 participating nations in June 2016, with a request to return completed checklists by October 2016.

Approximately a quarter of the recipients completed and returned the checklist: Australia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Romania, United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), and Vietnam. Their replies showed positive implementation trends. All nine countries affirmed their full implementation of the first two commitment areas – which involve the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fundamentals and recommendation documents on the physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities, radioactive sources, and materials outside of regulatory control. These countries are also taking additional actions beyond the four commitment areas, including developing cyber security measures for nuclear facilities.  However, additional efforts will need to be focused on commitment areas three and four, which involve improving the effectiveness of national nuclear security regimes and operators’ systems, and ensuring competent and accountable management and staff. Commitment area three was the section with the least reported action and, therefore, is well-suited for additional efforts.

The NSGEG commends the nine states that completed the checklist for their commitment to nuclear security excellence and encourages others to follow their lead… Read More

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