What is a Nuclear Security Summit?
The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is a world summit, aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the globe. The first summit was held in Washington, D.C., United States, on April 12–13, 2010. The second summit was held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2012. The third summit was held in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 24–25, 2014. The fourth summit was held in Washington, D.C. on March 31–April 1, 2016. The fifth summit was held in Georgetown Medical School, Washington, D.C. on December 11-12, 2018. It is held every two years since 2010.
Key goals of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS)
- The goal of the Nuclear Security Summit is to address concerns about fissile material falling into the wrong hands at a head-of-state level.
- Optimal security for and, if at all possible, a reduction in the use of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.
- Ratification of the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material by more countries to ensure that the amendment enters into force as soon as possible.
- More frequent reviews of state security structures by IAEA advisory missions.
- It includes minimizing the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU), bolstering security at nuclear facilities through enhanced national regulations. Also, implementing best practices, enhanced membership in international instruments and organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
- National registration and protection of highly radioactive sources (e.g. medical equipment).
- A greater role for industry in nuclear security, to enhance the security culture and existing regulations.
- States should provide information to their own people and the international community to demonstrate that they are taking appropriate measures to maintain the security of their nuclear material and facilities.
- These confidence-building measures will increase trust in the international protection system
Limitations of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process
- As NSS covers nuclear material only for non-military purposes, 83% of the nuclear material falls outside its ambit.
- Despite its intent, the Nuclear Security Summit has also not been able to amend the IAEA’s convention on nuclear safety.
- The fact that there is no legally binding outcome at the end of six years of NSS process is its major drawback.
- The NSS process has instead focused on asking countries to tighten their national laws, rules and capabilities on nuclear security.
- This has meant that military facilities are treated as national responsibilities and dealt as per international obligations
- Absence off Russia which has the largest stockpile of a nuclear weapon, devoid credibility of such summit.
- Break down of START between Russia and the US and nuclear modernization plans of Pentagon(US) reduces any commitment on disarmament as mere lip service.
India’s role to the NSS
- These groups could acquire a nuclear weapon from the arsenal of a nuclear state.
- They could acquire enough fissile material to construct an improvised nuclear device.
- They could acquire radioactive material from civilian sources such as hospitals or university laboratories that could be mixed with conventional explosives to make a radioactive dispersal device or ‘dirty bomb.’
- Terror groups could also sabotage a nuclear facility leading to large-scale loss of lives and destruction.
What measures were taken by India?
- India has set up a permanent team of technical and security experts from multiple ministries and agencies. This team conduct tabletop exercises simulating nuclear smuggling, phased out the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and built a database of all radioactive sources in the country.
- It has also started real-time tracking of radioactive sources when transported. Also, India has set up a network of 23 emergency response centers across the country for detecting and responding to any nuclear or radiological emergency.
- India is also in the process of equipping all major seaports and airports of the country with radiation detection machines.
- While nuclear security is a serious domestic concern, India also uses the platform to push its desire for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). NSG is the exclusive club that controls global nuclear trade.
- India’s export controls list and guidelines have been harmonized with those of the NSG. India looks forward to strengthening its contribution to shared non-proliferation objectives through membership of the export controls regimes.
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