New NTI Paper Identifies Strengths and Weaknesses in the Global Nuclear Security Architecture

A new NTI paper, The Global Nuclear Security Architecture: Closing Gaps to Build Greater Assurance, Accountability, and Action, provides an overview of today’s nuclear security architecture, identifies areas of weakness, and recommends ways to close gaps.

Drawing from data and analysis from two signature NTI projects, the Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities and the NTI Nuclear Security Index (NTI Index), the paper finds significant limitations to the current patchwork that includes individual states’ domestic regulations and policies, informal groups of countries voluntarily working together to enhance certain aspects of nuclear security, and more formal binding treaties and international organizations that make up the global nuclear security architecture.

As noted in the foreword by NTI Co-Chair and CEO Ernest J. Moniz and NTI President and COO Joan Rohlfing, “The actions taken so far, despite representing significant progress, have not yet led to the creation of a comprehensive global nuclear security architecture that is adequate to the evolving risks of nuclear terrorism and the enormous consequences that would result in terms of loss of life, health risks, damage to the environment, economic costs, or reduced public confidence in the continued use of peaceful nuclear technology.”

Noting that weaknesses in the system reflect an ongoing lack of political will and waning attention to nuclear security, the paper urges countries to step up their efforts to close gaps and support, contribute to, and participate in efforts to bolster the global nuclear security architecture. This should include taking advantage of the upcoming review conference for the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material to turn it into a vehicle for regular nuclear security dialogue and progress.

The paper was authored by Samantha Neakrase, senior director for NTI’s Materials Risk Management program and project lead for both the NTI Index and the Global Dialogue. Significant contributions also were made by NTI Vice President for Materials Risk Management Laura Holgate. NTI thanks Global Affairs Canada for its generous grant in support of the Global Dialogue, including the production of this paper.

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