Mostly getting nuclear safety at the IAEA – but missing nuclear security
Belfer Center Power & Policy blog
June 21, 2011
Commentary by: Matthew Bunn, co-principal investigator for the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom and a member of the Center’s board of directors
Topic: Nuclear safety and security
“At Monday’s opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s ministerial meeting in Vienna on what to do about nuclear safety after Fukushima, Director-General Yukiya Amano laid out a sensible five-point plan for improving global nuclear safety.
But Amano missed a crucial point: Disasters like Fukushima can be caused not only be accident but by terrorist action. The nuclear industry in many countries is much less prepared to cope with security incidents than with accidents, making the need to take steps to strengthen global nuclear security – protecting against both sabotage of nuclear facilities and theft of nuclear weapons or the materials to make them – particularly urgent. Olli Heinonen and I made this case in a recent column that also laid out a series of proposals similar in some respects to Amano’s. (Heinonen is a former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the IAEA, and by coincidence spent his 40th birthday at the Fukushima plant, on an inspection.)
As Amano pointed out, getting this right after Fukushima ‘is crucial for the future of nuclear power.’ Amano’s five proposals deserve support — though there’s more to be done.”