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Hiroshima for Global Peace

(3) Efforts to Maintain and Improve the Highest Level of Nuclear Security

Similar to the situation in 2020, many of the various international efforts related to nuclear security, including activities by the IAEA, have been postponed or carried out virtually in 2021 due to the continued effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, in suffering a pandemic of such scale further highlighted the importance of strengthening nuclear security measures including emergency response as well as the need to secure international cooperation for that purpose while response measures including movement restrictions are taken at home and abroad. In light of this situation, discussions and exchanges of opinions have been proactively conducted with a view toward the post-COVID era, as required to build a more resilient, safe, and secure global society.105

A) Minimization of HEU and separated plutonium stockpile in civilian use

Today, minimizing HEU and separated plutonium inventory is one of the key indicators for achieving the highest level of nuclear security.106 As a result of the 2004 GTRI as well as through a series of efforts through Nuclear Security Summit process since 2010 to minimize the use of HEU and plutonium South America, Central Europe, and Southeast Asia have become areas where there are no highrisk nuclear materials at present.

With regard to such minimization efforts, for example, Japan removed all HEU and separated plutonium from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) in 2016 based on the agreement in the Japan-U.S. joint statement issued during the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. Subsequently, at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, Japan and the United States announced that they would work together to remove all HEU fuel from the Kyoto University Critical Assembly (KUCA) Laboratory to the United States.107 In August 2018, at the fifth meeting of the Japan-U.S. Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, the two countries agreed that the removal of all HEU fuel from KUCA will be completed by March 2022.108

The following are remarks made by the surveyed countries at the IAEA General Conference regarding their efforts to minimize HEU in civilian sector use during 2021.

➢ Canada: Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) announced that it had safely completed all shipments of HEU Target Residue Material from Canada to the United States, bringing its TRM Repatriation Project to a safe and successful conclusion.109 This project has been underway since 2019, with more than 367 kilograms of HEU removed from Canada by 2021 when the project was completed.110 In addition, in September, Canada launched “a Can$ 2.5 million project with the United States Department of Energy to support the removal of the remaining HEU from a research reactor in Kazakhstan and to transport that HEU to Russia for downblending and disposition.”111
➢ Kazakhstan112: In April, “[the] National Nuclear Center reported that it completed the process of downblending the HEU fuel of the IGR uranium-graphite research reactor.” Some irradiated HEU fuel is still stored at the IGR reactor site, and “fresh HEU fuel was downblended at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant.”
➢ Norway113: In September, “Norway and the United States signed an MOU to cooperate on the elimination of all highly enriched uranium (HEU) in Norway. We plan to advance the project to the next stage within a couple of years.”
➢ The U.S.: “Partnered with commercial U.S. industry to support domestic production of Mo-99 without the use of HEU, including the selection of companies to negotiate new cooperative agreements in 2021.”114
➢ The Netherlands, Norway and South Korea115: Jointly submitted a working paper entitled, “Minimizing and eliminating highly enriched uranium in civilian stocks and use,” to the 2020 NPT Review Conference which was scheduled to be held in January 2022.

All of the efforts by these countries have been carried out in collaboration with the United States. Furthermore the United States and the Netherlands also have committed to study technical solutions to enable the downblending of challenging fuel types.116

Regarding the inventory of HEU, Norway and Australia voluntarily submitted reports to the IAEA in August 2019 and January 2020 respectively. Both countries used a reporting format attached to the 2017 Joint Statement on Minimising and Eliminating the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Applications (INFCIRC/912).117 Use of this standard format is encouraged as doing so enables information desired to be shared to be made public, and if submitted regularly, further allows the international community to evaluate the HEU minimization efforts of the country concerned. Twenty-one countries participated in a joint statement in INFCIRC/912, which include following surveyed countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.118 In the aforementioned working paper submitted by the Netherlands, Norway and South Korea to the 2020 NPT Review Conference, they expressed that “States may consider” subscribing to and implementing the reporting mechanism provided for in INFCIRC/912.119 In 2021, there were no surveyed countries which made new submission.

Meanwhile, concerning the minimization of separated plutonium, there was no public information made available on efforts by the surveyed countries.

B) Prevention of illicit trafficking

Nuclear detection, nuclear forensics, research and development of new technologies to strengthen capacity of law enforcement and customs, as well as participation in the IAEA’s Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB) have all been regarded as important measures for preventing illicit trafficking of nuclear materials. In particular, the ITDB which is a database on incidents related to unauthorized possession, illicit trafficking, illegal dispersal of radioactive material, as well as discovery of nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control has been regarded not only as an essential component of the information platform supporting the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Plan, but has also come to be appreciated as providing useful statistics which enable us to realize the real threat of nuclear terrorism.120 According to the ITDB Fact Sheet 2020, as of December 2019, the number of ITDB participants had reached 139.121 Regarding the status of participation in ITDB by the surveyed countries, see Table 3-6.

The latest IAEA Annual Report 2020 states that 125 incidents were reported to the ITDB in 2020. In 2019,189 incidents were reported,122 a decrease in the number of reported cases by 64 from 189 in the previous year. According to the IAEA Nuclear Security Report 2021,123 3,878 incidents had been reported by the end of June 2021 since the ITDB’s initial launch in 1995. The number of incidents reported during the period from July 2020 to June 2021 was 111, and the number of incidents occurring during the same period was 77.124 The following is a breakdown of the 111 incidents newly reported.125

➢ Two were related to trafficking, one of which involved a scam. All of the material involved in these incidents was seized by the relevant competent authorities within the reporting State, and none of these incidents involved HEU, plutonium or Category 1 sources.
➢ Nineteen incidents in which the intent to conduct trafficking or malicious use could not be determined. These included 15 thefts, 1 incident of unauthorized possession, and 3 incidents of missing materials. In these 19 incidents, all of which involved lower-risk sources below Category 3, the materials were not recovered.
➢ For 90 reported incidents, the material was out of regulatory control but not related to trafficking, malicious use or scams. Most of these incidents involved unauthorized disposal, unauthorized shipments and unexpected discoveries of material such as previously lost radioactive sources.

In order to protect confidentiality of the ITDB participants, detailed information on incidents and illicit trafficking is not made available to the public.

As for the information on illicit trafficking incidents in 2021 obtained from public sources, three cases took place in India. In one incident, two men in possession of 7.1 kilograms of natural uranium were arrested in Maharashtra in May. In the second, seven people were arrested in Jharkhand for possessing 6.4 kilograms of material suspected of uranium for sale in the black market in June.126 Thirdly, in August, two people were arrested in the city of Kolkata on suspicion of attempting to sell radioactive material illegally. The suspect claims to have purchased a total of 250 kilograms of radioactive material from someone, but the Criminal Investigation Bureau believes that it has been stolen from the laboratory.127 In any event, the occurrence of multiple cases in a short period of time shows an essential need for further strengthening of security measures for these materials.

With regard to national effort by the surveyed countries to prevent illicit trafficking, Indonesia held the IAEA virtual national workshop on expert support for the assessment of alarms and alerts for material out of regulatory control in February 2021.128

Table 3-6 shows the implementation status regarding efforts for the minimization of HEU for peaceful purposes, participation in the ITDB and measures for the prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear material and other radiological materials, based on official statements made at past Nuclear Security Summits, IAEA Nuclear Security Conferences, and any other publicly available information.


C) Acceptance of international nuclear security review missions

The International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) provides States, upon their request, with peer advice, regarding the implementation of international instruments and IAEA guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material, associated facilities and activities. IPPAS missions are conducted by teams of international nuclear security experts. Missions comprise a national level review of the legal and regulatory framework.129 Depending on a State’s request, a mission may also include a review of security systems and measures at facilities, as well as during the transport of nuclear and other radioactive material.

While not a single IPPAS mission was conducted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, six countries namely Niger, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Turkey, Czech Republic, and Senegal received it in 2021.130 Turkey, one of the surveyed countries, which accepted its first IPPAS mission in 2003, accepted one in 2021 for the second time. As Turkey ratified the CPPNM/A in July 2015, the IPPAS mission in 2021 provided the country an opportunity to receive international evaluation of whether obligations of the Convention are reflected in the national nuclear security regime.131 Similar to Turkey, certain countries which have received IPPAS missions in the past proceeded to request follow-up missions to continue working on strengthening the protection of nuclear materials. The IAEA recommends that a follow-up mission be conducted three to four years after the receiving the initial mission.

While there was no surveyed country which announced plans for receiving an IPPAS mission in the future, the UAE noted at the 2021 IAEA General Conference the importance of review mechanisms set up by the IAEA and have hosted major peer review missions such as the IPPAS mission.132

A recent trend concerning IPPAS missions is to make the IPPAS report partially available to the public while at the same time protecting sensitive information a trend which is encouraged from the viewpoint of transparency and accountability regarding national nuclear security efforts. Following the examples of the Netherlands, Sweden, and Australia, Japan released part of their IPPAS and follow-up mission reports in December 2019.133 Similar to 2020, in 2021 there was no country which made part of its IPPAS mission report newly available to the public, but it is expected that more countries will do so going forward.

Apart from IPPAS missions, the IAEA also provides the International Nuclear Security Advisory Service (INSServ) and other missions to develop an INSSP in order to assist States in establishing nuclear security systems and capabilities. An INSServ mission, composed of a group of international experts, provides advice to improve a broad spectrum of nuclear security activities of the state, by reviewing the national nuclear security regime. With the goal of training such experts to support future INSServ missions, the IAEA conducted virtually an international workshop on the INSServ guidelines in June 2021.134

The INSSP provides a platform for nuclear security work to be implemented over a period of time, thus ensuring sustainability of national nuclear security efforts. The INSSP review missions enable the IAEA, the state concerned, and donors, to plan and coordinate activities from both a technical and a financial point of view, optimizing the use of resources and avoiding duplications.

According to the IAEA Nuclear Security Report 2021, as of June 2021, there are 91 approved INSSPs in total, including five new countries that formally approved INSSPs during the period from July 2020 to June 2021.135 Regarding the surveyed countries, Poland is one of the five countries mentioned above and Egypt held the IAEA’s virtual coordination meeting for INSSP implementation.136

D) Technology development―nuclear forensics

Nuclear forensics is an important technology for nuclear security in that it can identify and prosecute perpetrators of illicit trafficking and malicious acts involving nuclear and radiological materials. Efforts and support for further advancement of this technology, as well as the establishment of national systems and international networking systems have been made to date.137

With regard to multilateral cooperation on nuclear forensics, the Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group (ITWG) serves as a platform to support the technology development and the sharing of nuclear forensic methods.138 In June 2021, the ITWG annual meeting was held virtually and attended by more than one hundred experts from 35 countries. The meeting highlighted the group’s notable contributions to international nuclear security over the past twenty-five years.139 Also, in September, ITWG planned to initiate the 7th Collaborative Materials Exercise (CMX-7) Data Review Meeting, comprising elements of radiological crime scene management and nuclear forensic laboratory analyses, but it is unknown from public sources whether it took place or not.140 Although only six analytical labs participated in the inaugural CMX-1, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Czech, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Commission (Joint Research Center: JRC), are participating in most recent CMX (namely CMX-6). As evidenced by this scale of participation has increased markedly over time.141 In addition, ITWG has been carrying out the Galaxy Serpent Exercise for the development of a national nuclear forensics library and is preparing for conducting the 5th one in the spring of 2022.142

Another important framework for multilateral cooperation on nuclear forensics is the Nuclear Forensics Working Group (NFWG) chaired by Canada and established within the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), as described below. Aiming at strengthening nuclear forensics capabilities through multilateral cooperation, the NFWG has conducted many workshops and desktop exercises. The following is a list of nuclear forensics efforts and/or remarks made by the surveyed countries in this study regarding such efforts. GICNT is also working closely with the ITWG, and attended and presented a briefing at the aforementioned ITWG annual meeting held in June.143

E) Capacity building and support activities

Prior to the commencement of the Nuclear Security Summit process, many countries set up Nuclear Security Support Centers (NSSC) as a means to strengthen the sustainability of their national nuclear security capacity, including education and training functions, or established centers of excellence (COE) for experts in the region. In this way, capacity building efforts on nuclear security have since been carried out continuously since then in many countries and regions.

As part of its efforts in this area, the IAEA in July 2021, initiated work to construct the IAEA Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre in Seibersdorf which will be a “specialized training facility for the demonstration of equipment and technologies related to nuclear security and the organization of training activities on the implementation of nuclear security systems and measures at major public events.” According to the IAEA, the facility will complement the activities of national NSSCs and is scheduled to become operational in 2023.144 Regarding this Centre, at the 2021 IAEA General Conference, South Korea announced that it “will continue close cooperation with the IAEA in the establishment of the IAEA Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Center and development of cyber security training program.”145 In addition, Saudi Arabia expressed its satisfaction at the start of construction work on the Nuclear Security Center building and noted that they contributed 10 million dollars for this Center.146

As for the efforts by the surveyed countries with respect to COE focused on nuclear security in 2021, the following statement was made at the IAEA General Conference;

➢ Japan147: “Japan will continue to contribute to strengthening international nuclear security, in cooperation with the Agency despite the COVID-19 pandemic, through activities for regional human resource development, including virtual trainings by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Security (ISCN). In this regard, I am pleased to note that the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) will be designated as an IAEA Collaborating Centre in the fields of nuclear security and of decommissioning and radioactive waste management soon and contribute to the Agency and Member States in both areas.”

Accordingly, the IAEA and JAEA concluded an agreement in November and the JAEA was designated as an IAEA Collaborating Centre. With this agreement, the JAEA became the 8th IAEA Collaborating Centre in the field of nuclear security.148 In light of the conclusion of this agreement, one can see a strengthening of Japan’s contribution to the IAEA nuclear security work in the area of research and development through human resource development as well as IAEA research projects.


International network for training and support

Efforts to set up COEs and implement training as described above not only helps capacity building related to global nuclear security, but also contributes to promoting understanding of nuclear security among regional experts, operators and related organizations. Moreover, strengthening cooperation with each country’s COE has advantages such as mutual exchange of instructors among COEs. At the same time, to promote efficient cooperation and closer information sharing, it is important to avoid duplication in the activities of the COEs that have been established over the past several years.149 These tasks include building a broad network centered around the IAEA, and strengthening education and training through international support. To maintain and further facilitate exchange of experts, information and training material, the International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres (NSSC Network) was established in 2012 under the leadership of the IAEA. As of 2021, 75 institutions from 66 countries currently participate in the Network. The breakdown of these 75 by region is as follows: 25 institutions from the Asia/Pacific region, 22 from Europe, 20 from Africa, 6 from Latin America, and 2 from North America.150 Participating countries in this study include Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia and the United States. The annual meeting of the NSSC Network was held virtually in April 2021.151 Furthermore, in September, “the Asia Regional Network of NSSCs (ARN) and IAEA had a virtual meeting to review progress in the development of cooperation among the ARN members and to further facilitate coordination on planning and implementation of regional and international activities for nuclear security.”152

According to the IAEA Nuclear Security Report 2021, a working group of the NSSC Network conducted a survey of Network members in order to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the role and functions of NSSCs as well as to share related good practices.153 The responses revealed that “all NSSC core functions had been impacted, including by the cancellation and postponement of events and activities. However, new and unique approaches to conducting virtual activities have also been developed.” NSSCs reported that “the mitigating actions already implemented had been incorporated in their mid-term strategies.”154

International network for education

While NSSC focuses on training, the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN) focuses on nuclear security education to further advance technology development and information sharing in this area. According to the IAEA Nuclear Security Report 2021, the Network now comprises 198 institutions from 66 Member States.155 In 2021, 1 new country and 4 new institutions joined INSEN continuing a trend wherein the number of participating countries and educational institutions has expanded in recent years. Countries in this survey which participate in INSEN include: Austria, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.156

As for INSEN activities in 2021, “the 2021 International Nuclear Security Education Network Leadership Meeting” was held virtually in March. In this Meeting, INSEN’s ongoing activities and the impact of COVID-19 on nuclear security education were discussed.157 In addition, two “International Schools on Nuclear Security were held virtually in Russian in September 2020 and May–June 2021, with 23 participants from 8 Member States; and in English in April 2021, with 52 participants from 36 Member States.”158

F) IAEA Nuclear Security Plan and Nuclear Security Fund

The IAEA has been developing a Nuclear Security Plan (NSP) every four years; the sixth Plan covering the period 2022-2025 was approved in September 2021.159 In developing the sixth NSP, IAEA General Conference resolutions and the Ministerial Declaration of the ICONS 2020 were taken into consideration. According to this latest NSP, following are mentioned as priority areas for the IAEA to provide further assistance, upon request:

➢ Physical protection, prevention, detection, and response, as well as insider threat mitigation and nuclear security culture.
➢ Strengthening of protection of sensitive information and computer-based systems.160

In addition, as cross-cutting activities of high priority, the plan lists the universalization and provision of assistance to implement the CPPNM/A, computer security, the development of national legislative and regulatory frameworks, advisory missions such as IPPAS, and establishing the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre at Seibersdorf.161 Furthermore, the plan states that the IAEA will “undertake efforts to assist States, at their request, to address current and evolving challenges to nuclear security, noting that implementing risk management activities may contribute to improving nuclear security.”162

With a view toward the successful implementation of NSPs, in 2002 the IAEA established the Nuclear Security Fund (NSF) as a voluntary funding mechanism to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism. Since then, the IAEA has been calling on Member States to make voluntary contributions to the Fund.

Although the IAEA’s regular budget allocations for nuclear security have increased gradually in recent years, this has been limited due to persistent negative opinions, especially among developing countries.163

According to the IAEA Nuclear Security Report 2021, during the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, the IAEA accepted pledges and received contributions to the NSF from 19 Member States and other contributors including Canada, China, Estonia, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.164 In addition, according to the IAEA Annual Report 2020, the most recent available at the time of writing, NSF revenue for FY2020 was €50 million, representing €17 million increase from the previous year.165

G) Participation in international efforts

International efforts to improve the level of nuclear security form a multilayered structure today. Major efforts by the international community on nuclear security are comprised of two pronged approaches, one by international organizations and the other by multilateral forums such as the Nuclear Security Summit process which concluded in 2016. The approach by international organizations includes: UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)166 on non-proliferation, which calls for UN Member States to take legal measures to prohibit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to establish a strict export control system, based on the Chapter VII of the UN Charter; INTERPOL’s support to national law enforcement agencies on the issue of nuclear security; a series of IAEA International Conferences on Nuclear Security, and other relevant meetings and workshops.

With regard to the Nuclear Security Summit Process, several mechanisms have been established to ensure that international efforts to improve the level of nuclear security continue after the end of the process in 2016, with the Nuclear Security Contact Group (NSCG)— established through the Joint Statement on Sustained Action to Enhance Global Nuclear Security—at the center of the process. The role of the NSCG is to promote sustained engagement and implementation of nuclear security by States, and to strengthen the global nuclear security architecture to ensure that it is both sustainable and comprehensive. The NSCG is expected to hold annual meetings in conjunction with the IAEA General Conference, as well as related meetings.

The number of participating countries in the NSCG was 40 at the time of its establishment, but Canada has since taken the lead in issuing an IAEA information document INFCIRC/899, which includes the NSCG’s Statement of Principles and invites countries that have not yet joined to join.167 As of November 2021, 48 countries, including Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as four regional and international organizations, the European Union (EU), IAEA, INTERPOL, and the UN, are participating as observers.168

In addition to the NSCG, a number of basket initiatives have been launched as part of the Nuclear Security Summit process, such as “Transportation Security (INFCIRC/909)” led by Japan, “Insider Threat Mitigation (INFCIRC/908)” led by the United States, “Nuclear Forensics (INFCIRC/917)” led by Australia, and “Security of Highly Radioactive Sources (INFCIRC/910)” led by France.169 Among these, as an effort to advance “Insider Threat Mitigation (INFCIRC/ 908),” the International Working Group (IWG) was set up in 2020 with an intention to provide “a unique forum to share best practices and other resources to advance the global state of insider threat mitigation for nuclear and other radioactive materials security.”170 The United States and Belgium serves as Co- Chairs of the IWG, while Canada, Chile, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco and Nigeria lead its Steering Committee.171 The IWG held its second meeting virtually in January 2021 and issued its first newsletter in March.172

In addition to the efforts of the various multilateral fora mentioned above, there are other multilateral cooperation frameworks for nuclear security, such as the G7 Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG), the G7 Global Partnership against Proliferation of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (G7GP, formerly known as the G8 Global Partnership), and the GICNT.

The NSSG holds three meetings annually and produces a report. In 2021, three meetings were held under the Chairmanship of the United Kingdom. Discussions and exchange of experience in nuclear security and safety were conducted and the statement was issued in December.173 The statement identifies “areas of importance and opportunities for collaboration on key policy topics including support for diverse nuclear workforces; building public trust; small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced nuclear technology; and Chernobyl decommissioning programme.”174

With regards to the G7GP, a Directors Group statement was issued in April 2021. With respect to nuclear security, the following points were made.175

➢ “The G7 is resolved to increase political attention to the challenges of countering the threat of non-state actors acquiring nuclear and radioactive materials as weapons of terrorism and to accelerate national and international steps to manage the risks posed by such materials.”
➢ The G7 affirms its commitment to minimize HEU stocks globally, and encourage states with civil stocks of HEU to further reduce or eliminate them where economically and technically feasible.
➢ It supports the universal adherence to and implementation of the ICSANT and CPPNM/A and calls on all states that have not yet done so to become a party to and fully implement these conventions.
➢ The G7 calls on all States Parties to participate in the upcoming CPPNM/A Review Conference to make it both substantive and reoccurring, as well as to submit information required by Article XIV prior to the Review Conference.
➢ The G7 commit to continue to actively support the IAEA, NSCG, GICNT, and the UNSCR 1540 Committee to assist members to implement their national commitments that help enhance nuclear and radiological security.
➢ “The GP also plans to focus on revitalizing efforts to minimize HEU and to manage the risks associated with high activity radiological sources.”
➢ “The Nuclear and Radiological Security Working Group (NRSWG) identified HEU minimization as a key initiative during 2021 and intends to revitalize efforts in raising awareness.”176

Elsewhere, the GICNT, which was agreed to by the U.S.-Russia initiative at the St. Petersburg Summit in 2006, is another important international effort in the field of nuclear security. The GICNT is a framework of voluntary international cooperation by concerned states. As mentioned in the previous section on nuclear forensics technology development, GICNT activities with the aim of strengthening nuclear security has greatly recognized in recent years. The GICNT now includes participation from 89 partner countries (including Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and six international organizations, including the IAEA, INTERPOL, and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) as official observers as of April 2021.177

The next GICNT plenary meeting was scheduled to be held in 2021 in Hungary to discuss the future direction of the Initiative, based on activities beyond 2019.178 However, information on this meeting could not be found from open-source documents.

The GICNT has three main Working Groups: Response and Mitigation, Nuclear Forensics, and Nuclear Detection. In 2019, joint exercises and workshops were held under the GICNT to support the detection of nuclear and other radioactive materials, to improve nuclear forensics capabilities, and to respond to disasters related to nuclear security incidents. As for 2021, however, no records of such activities could be found in publicly available information, as was also the case in 2020.

In addition to the multilateral efforts described above, countries are working toward the enhancement of nuclear security on a bilateral basis. For example, Japan announced the establishment of the Japan-U.S. Nuclear Security Working Group (NSWG) in November 2010, and has been promoting cooperation in the areas of human resource development, nuclear forensics, transportation security, and HEU minimization.179 Also, the NNSA and the Atomic Energy of Canada signed “a memorandum of understanding-Cooperation and Information Exchange on Nuclear Security, Safeguards and Non- Proliferation Matters” in October 2020 to enable more effective bilateral collaboration in the areas of nuclear safety and nuclear security. “The agreement includes the sharing of knowledge and information, including cross-training, workshops and exercises, as well as collaboration in research and development.”180 They are now in the process of exploring the repatriation of additional HEU and other materials over the next several years.181 Bilateral cooperation between the United States and South Korea is another example. These two states set up a Nuclear Security Working Group under the High-level Committee to discuss ways to collaborate on nuclear security issues in the future. The Regional Workshop on Asia’s Consideration of Nuclear Security aforementioned was realized by the suggestion of South Korea through consultation with the IAEA and NNSA.182 The two countries have assumed a leading role in strengthening the global nuclear security regime and have led the international community in minimizing HEU, improving cyber security of nuclear facilities, and strengthening IAEA nuclear security activities.183

Hosting international nuclear security review missions such as IPPAS, nuclear forensics, capacity-building, and supporting efforts will contribute to enhancing the surveyed countries’ nuclear security-related capabilities and performance. Thus, these can be treated as indicators of the robustness of their national nuclear security regimes. Furthermore, contributions to the IAEA NSF, and participation in activities of G7GP as well as GICNT can also be regarded as indicators of States’ commitments to enhance nuclear security. Based on these premises, in Table 3-7, the status of each surveyed country’s participation in and efforts toward the above items (nuclear security initiatives) are shown.

105 For example, in Japan, the Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Security (ISCN) held the International Forum on Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Security subtitled “Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Security in the Post COVID-19 Era” in December 2021. In this Forum, measures for dealing with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic were sorted out through the sharing of good practices, and discussions on what should be done to build a strong, safe and secure society in the event of a similar situation in the future. “International Forum on Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Security,” ISCN,; Nikolas Roth, Christopher Hobbs and Daniel Salisbury, “Nuclear Security in a Time Of Crisis,” Stimson Center, October 5, 2021.
106 Regarding separated plutonium, it was mentioned for the first time in the series of Nuclear Security Summits the need to maintain them at the minimum level in the communique of the 2014 Hague Summit. The Ministerial Declaration of ICONS 2020 called upon “all Member States possessing HEU and separated plutonium in any application, … to make sure they are appropriately secured and accounted for, by and in the relevant State,” and encouraged “Member States, on a voluntary basis, to further minimize HEU in civilian stocks, when technically and economically feasible.” “Ministerial Declaration,” p. 1.
107 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “The Fourth Washington Nuclear Security Summit, Japan-US Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Cooperation (Summary).” (in Japanese)
108 “Joint Statement: The Fifth Meeting of the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, August 8, 2018, 000388660.pdf.
109 “CNL Completes Repatriation of HEU Target Residue Material to United States,” Canadian Nuclear Laboratory, January 26, 2021.
110 The U.S. Department of Energy, Prevent, Counter, and Respond-NNSA’s Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats FY 2022-FY 2026 Report to Congress, December 2021, Chapter 2, p. 4.
111 “National Report by Canada,” NPT/CONF.2020/35, November 9, 2021, p.18.
112 “Kazakhstan Moves Downblended Fuel of IGR Reactor to Storage,” IPFM Blog, April 23, 2021, https: //
113 “Statement of Norway,” IAEA General Conference, September 2021, pp. 1-2.
114 The U.S. Department of Energy, Prevent, Counter, and Respond-NNSA’s Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats FY 2022-FY 2026 Report to Congress, Chapter 2, p. 4.
115 NPT/CONF.2020/WP.14, November 8, 2021.
116 The U.S. Department of Energy, Prevent, Counter, and Respond-NNSA’s Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats FY 2022-FY 2026 Report to Congress, Chapter 2, p. 4.
117 “Joint Statement on Minimising and Eliminating the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Applications,” INFCIRC/912, February 16, 2020; “Australia’s 2019 INFCIRC/912 HEU Report,” IPFM Blog, January 23, 2020,
118 INFCIRC/912, February 16, 2020. France, Germany and the United Kingdom have voluntarily added reporting of HEU stock to their reports on civilian separated plutonium stock based on the International Plutonium Control Guidelines (INFCIRC/549).
119 NPT/CONF.2020/WP.14, p. 4.
120 IAEA, “ITDB: Incident and Trafficking Database.”
121 IAEA, “IAEA Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB) Incidents of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material out of Regulatory Control 2020 Fact Sheet,” p. 1.
122 IAEA, IAEA Annual Report 2020, GC(65)/5, September 2021, p. 101.
123 IAEA, Nuclear Security Report 2021, p. 6.
124 These 111 incidents include those which occurred prior to July 2020.
125 IAEA, Nuclear Security Report 2021, pp. 10-11.
126 “Jharkhand: 6 kg Mineral Uranium Seized, 7 Arrested,” Indian Express, June 4, 2021, https://indian; Sang-Min Kim, “India Arrests Alleged Uranium Traders,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2021, https://www.armscontrol. org/act/2021-07/news-briefs/india-arrests-alleged-uranium-traders.
127 “Two Arrested in India with Radioactive Substances Worth over $570 Million,” Express Tribune, August 26, 2021, th-over-570-million.
128 IAEA, Nuclear Security Report 2021, p. 21.
129 IPPAS assessment will be made based on “IPPAS Guidelines” published in 2014. IAEA, “International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) Guidelines,” IAEA Service Series, No. 29, 2014.
130 IAEA, “Peer Review and Advisory Services Calendar.”
131 “IAEA Completes Nuclear Security Advisory Mission in Turkey,” IAEA Press Releases, November 12, 2021.
132 “Statement of the United Arab Emirates,” IAEA General Conference, September 2021, p. 3.
133 Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan, “Publication of IAEA’s IPPAS Mission Report and its Follow-up Mission Report,” December 24, 2019.
134 IAEA, Nuclear Security Report 2021, p. 23.
135 Ibid., p. 9.
136 Ibid.
137 According to ISCN, cases of nuclear forensics are rare and thus an internationally standardized method has yet to be established. Therefore, ISCN has been conducting joint research with the U.S. Department of Energy and the EU/Joint Research Center (JRC) to verify the technology of the methods that ISCN developed. In addition, ISCN has been participating international exercises to evaluate its technological abilities. In this manner, it is important to develop technologies under international cooperation. ISCN, “State of Play and Future Plans on Nuclear Forensics Technology Development,” October 4, 2018, 04/iscn/activity/2018-10-04/2018-10-04-05.pdf. (in Japanese)
138 ITWG has held “a range of exercises that have helped identify, develop, and socialize best practices in the field of nuclear forensics. More than 300 experts from nearly 60 countries have participated in ITWG activities.” “JRC Co-chairing the ITWG Annual Meeting,” The European Commission’s Science and Knowledge Service, June 22, 2021,
139 Ibid.
140 Ibid.
141 Jon M. Schwantes, “Trends in Nuclear Forensic Analyses: 20 Years of Collaborative Materials Exercises,” ITWG Nuclear Forensics Update, No.10, March 2019, p. 6.
142 ITWG, “ITWG Nuclear Forensics Update,” No. 19, June 2021, p. 7.
143 “JRC Co-chairing the ITWG Annual Meeting.”
144 “Statement to the Sixty-Fifth Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference,” September 20, 2021,
145 “Statement of South Korea,” IAEA General Conference, September 2021, p. 2.
146 “Statement of Saudi Arabia,” IAEA General Conference, September 2021.
147 “Statement of Japan,” IAEA General Conference, September 2021, pp. 6-7.
148 Shant Krikorian and Vasiliki Tafili, “IAEA and Japan Atomic Energy Agency to Work together in Decommissioning, Radioactive Waste Management, and Nuclear Security,” November 29, 2021, mmissioning-radioactive-waste-management-and-nuclear-security. Under this IAEA-JAEA agreement, “the following areas of cooperation are included: enhancing security of nuclear material and associated facilities; nuclear security in transportation of nuclear and other radioactive material; institutional response infrastructure for material out of regulatory control; education and training programmes for human resource development; and nuclear security detection architecture.”
149 For basic information on the NSSC Network, see IAEA, “Understanding Nuclear Security Support Centres (NSSCs) in FIVE QUESTIONS,”
150 “Chair’s Welcome,” IAEA NSSC Network Newsletter, Issue 8, October 2021,
151 IAEA, Nuclear Security Report 2021, p. 29.
152 “Chair’s Welcome.”
153 IAEA, Nuclear Security Report 2021, pp. 29-30.
154 Ibid.
155 Ibid., p. 28.
156 “Annual Meeting of the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN), Chair’s Report,” July 2019; “Working Group Meeting of the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN), Chairman’s Report,” February 2015.
157 IAEA, Nuclear Security Report 2021, p. 29.
158 Ibid.; “Joint ICTP-IAEA 2021 International School on Nuclear Security,” The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics,
159 IAEA, Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021, GC(61)/24, September 14, 2017.
160 IAEA, Nuclear Security Plan 2022-2025: Report by the Director General, GC(65)/24, September 15, 2021, p. 4.
161 Ibid., p. 5.
162 Ibid.
163 “Support for the International Atomic Energy Agency,” NTI Nuclear Security Index, https://www.
164 IAEA, Nuclear Security Report 2021, GOV/2021/35-GC (65)/10/Mod.1, September 10, 2021, p. 1.
165 IAEA, IAEA Annual Report 2019, GC (64)/3, 2020, p. 82.
166 “Joint Statement on Promoting Full and Universal Implementation of UNSCR 1540 (2004),” Washington Nuclear Security Summit, April 5, 2016.
167 “Statement of Principles Nuclear Security Contact Group.”
168 “Members,” Nuclear Security Contact Group,
169 See the NSCG website,; “INFCIRC 909: A Global Tool for Transport Security”; “INFCIRC 908: A Global Tool for Insider Threat Mitigation”; “INFCIRC 910: A Global Tool for Radioactive Source Security.”
170 “Advancing INFCIRC/908: Building International Partnerships to Mitigate Insider Threats,” Proceedings of the INMM-ESARDA Joint Annual Meeting, August 23-26 and August 30-September 1, 2021.
171 “Terms of Reference,” Advancing Insider Threat Mitigation (INFCIRC/908) International Group,
172 “Know Your Insiders, Newsletter of the Advancing INFCIRC/908 Mitigating Insider Threats,” International Working Group, March 2021.
173 “G7 Nuclear Safety and Security Group: Statement 9 December 2021,” GOV.UK, December 13, 2021, g7-nuclear-safety-and-security-group-statement-9-december-2021.
174 Ibid.
175 “G7 Non-Proliferation Directors Group: statement 19 April 2021,” Policy Paper, April 19, 2021,
176 “A Message from the United Kingdom-2021 GP President,”
177 “Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Partner Nations List.”
178 “Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT),” Nuclear Threat Initiative, May 28, 2020.
179 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Japan-U.S. Nuclear Security Working Group (NSWG),” August 31, 2018. (in Japanese)
180 “U.S., Canada Sign MOU on Safeguards and Nonproliferation,” American Nuclear Society, October 19, 2020, tion/.
181 “United States, Canada Complete Nuclear Material Shipping Campaign,” January 12, 2021, https://
182 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea, “Regional Workshop on Asia’s Consideration of Nuclear Security,” March 25, 2021.
183 Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea, “4th Meeting of ROK-U.S. Nuclear Security Working Group Takes Place,” Press Releases, September 23, 2020,

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