Nuclear Safeguards and the Security of Nuclear Materials

Nuclear Safeguards thumbNuclear technology is Janus-headed; it is a dual-use technology with both peaceful and military applications. Concerns about the misuse of peaceful applications of nuclear energy were at first focused on states seeking nuclear weapons. The first concepts for restricting nuclear energy to peaceful purposes were proposed in the context of a broad international agreement under the auspices of the newly formed United Nations.

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India’s Nuclear Safeguards: Not Fit for Purpose

India NSCurrently, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is considering India’s application for membership. In this context NSG members are reportedly discussing membership criteria for states not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), including a requirement for clear and strict separation of current and future civilian nuclear facilities from non-civilian nuclear facilities. In this paper, John Carlson examines India’s Separation Plan and safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and shows that they do not meet this standard – that current arrangements create an unverified grey zone between military and civilian material, and are not sufficient to verify that India is not using safeguarded material to benefit military purposes.

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Nuclear export controls and nuclear safeguards

export controlExport control of dual use goods developed since the early 70’s to counter nuclear proliferation. The paper provides an overview of dual-use export control issues also in relation with the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, which requires States to provide declarations of the export of the controlled items listed in its Annex II, derived from the Nuclear Suppliers Group Trigger list. Recommendations for improvement are proposed.

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Second Time is NOT a Charm for the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Second Time is NOT a Charm thmbSo the well-intended states and civil society groups in New York have produced a second draft of the nuclear weapons ban convention. The draft shows real work, and drafters deserve credit for some notable improvements. However, aside from questionable nature of the exercise to begin with, the second draft retains many of the specific problems associated with the first and raises new, serious questions.

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Identification of uranium signatures relevant for nuclear safeguards and forensics

3The paper describes the applicability of different characteristics (signatures) in nuclear safeguards and forensics for assessment of uranium material provenance in terms of production process. The study follows a uranium ore concentrate production from an ore to a U3O8 product. It turned out that rare-earth elemental pattern, radiochronometry (age of ore body and material production date), sulphur and organic impurities are useful to find out the origin or history of the material, while certain trace-elements and isotopics of Pb or Sr were found to be inconclusive. The results will be important to understand the signatures in nuclear safeguards and forensics.

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