The Fourth and Final Nuclear Security Summit: Strengthening the International Framework for Nuclear Safety

The fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) took place in Washington, D. C. It was a unique event that provided the opportunity to strengthen the international framework for nuclear safety through the formulation of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT). The action plan could focus on improving and expanding existing activities, such as training courses and tabletop exercises on prevention and response to nuclear or radiological incidents, and the Operation Fail Safe initiative.

Manpreet Sethi, a distinguished member and director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Center for Air Energy Studies in New Delhi, identified nuclear terrorism as the most important challenge for the United States and placed it above the nuclear weapons risks posed by China and Russia. To address this challenge, eleven statements (codified in the IAEA Information Circulars) were issued to cover a wide range of activities, including a commitment to strengthen the implementation of nuclear safety measures consistent with IAEA guidance, and focus on issues such as mitigating internal threats and combating nuclear smuggling. The NSS also established three working groups focusing on nuclear detection, nuclear forensic science, and nuclear and radiological incident response and mitigation. It maintained a strong record of nuclear safety; second, it strictly complied with international nuclear safety obligations.

Countries must comply with relevant international obligations, improve national legislation and monitoring and management systems, and take effective measures to protect the safety of national nuclear materials and facilities; second, consolidate the existing international legal framework on safety nuclear. The United States and the Soviet Union showed such confluence on the issue of horizontal non-proliferation in the 1960s, which facilitated the birth of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The annual General Conference of the IAEA is another opportunity to raise this issue to the next level and may be a time when nations can announce new commitments to improve nuclear safety, as well as observe recent achievements. A key outcome of the Summits was to recognize the importance of an effective global nuclear safety architecture.

INTERPOL is involved in this effort to protect nuclear materials through information exchange, capacity building, and operational and research support to counter nuclear smuggling and to help States prepare for an incident involving hazardous materials.