Security for Nuclear Power Plants and Facilities


Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?
March 2016 | Report
Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Matthew Bunn, Martin Malin, William Tobey, and Nickolas Roth

This report provides a global assessment of nuclear security. Significant progress has been made securing vulnerable nuclear weapons-usable material—reducing the number of countries with these materials by more than half, securing scores of sites around the world, and much more. But the work is not done. There are new threats, and global attention to nuclear security may be waning. (click here to view)

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons
February 2016 | Report
Congressional Research Service
By Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth Nikitin

This CRS report praises recent improvements in Pakistan’s export control laws, personnel security, and international nuclear security cooperation, but warns political instability continuing plaguing the country continues to pose a threat to the safety of its nuclear weapons and material.

Nuclear Power Plant Security and Vulnerabilities
January 2014 | Report
Congressional Research Service
By Anthony Andrews and Mark Holt

This CRS report outlines the vulnerabilities of domestic nuclear power plants to attack from outside forces. It notes that in 2007 the NRC updated the Design Basis Threat to mandate protection from more than one team of adversaries attacking from multiple entry points. The report also describes the threat posed by civilian aircraft, noting that NRC regulations require all new power plants to ensure that in the event of a crash the reactor core would stay cooled, but this requirement does not extend to existing reactors. (click here to view)

Threat Perceptions and Drivers of Change in Nuclear Security Around the World: Results of a Survey
March 2014 | Report
Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Matthew Bunn and Eben Harrell 

Leaders at the 2010 nuclear security summit agreed on the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material in four years. This goal implied that many countries would change their nuclear security policies. But the factors that drive changes in nuclear security policies, and that constrain those changes, are not well understood. We conducted a survey of selected nuclear security experts in countries with nuclear weapons, highly enriched uranium (HEU), or separated plutonium, to explore this issue. This paper describes the survey, its results, and implications for next steps to strengthen global nuclear security. (click here to view)


Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals
March 2014 | Report
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Matthew Bunn, Martin B. Malin, Nickolas Roth, and William H. Tobey

"In the lead-up to the nuclear security summit in The Hague, Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals outlines what was accomplished in a four-year effort launched in 2009 to secure nuclear material around the globe—and what remains to be done....The authors conclude that “all countries with nuclear weapons, separated plutonium, or highly enriched uranium (HEU) on their soil have more to do to ensure these items are effectively and lastingly secured.”  (click here to view)

Securing China's Nuclear Future
March 2014 | Discussion Paper
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Hui Zhang and Tuosheng Zhang

"The purpose of this report is to provide a better understanding of Chinese perceptions of the threat of nuclear terrorism and attitudes toward the nuclear security challenge; to describe the current status of nuclear security practices in China and of planned improvements in rules and organization, management, and technologies; and to recommend steps for making further improvements." (click here to view)

Securing China's Nuclear Power Plants
Winter 2014 | Report
Journal of Nuclear Materials Management
By Hui Zhang

"Since September 11, 2001, China has substantially advanced its physical protection system, with a switch in focus from the traditional "guns, gates, guards" approach to an effective mixed approach, combining personnel with modern techniques....This paper examines the specific and detailed physical protection approaches that are currently applied to China's nuclear power plants, and recommends further steps to improve China's existing nuclear security system." (click here to view)

U.S. Nuclear Power After Fukushima
July 2011 | Report
Union of Concerned Scientists

"The recent events in Japan remind us that while the likelihood of a nuclear power plant accident is low, its potential consequences are grave....Given this reality, the United States must take concrete steps now to address serious shortcomings in nuclear plant safety and security that have been evident for years." (click here to view)

Preventing the Next Fukushima
May 2011 | Article
By Matthew Bunn and Olli Heinonen

"This week, the leaders of the G8 industrial democracies will gather in France.  Among other things, they will discuss what steps must be taken to strengthen global nuclear safety (designed to prevent nuclear accidents) and global nuclear security (designed to prevent terrorist sabotage or theft of nuclear materials) in the aftermath of the tragedy at Fukushima.  These discussions will feed in to a ministerial meeting in late June at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The world community should take new actions in five key areas." (click here to view)

Promoting Safe, Secure, and Peaceful Growth of Nuclear Energy: Next Steps for Russia and the United States
October 2010 | Report
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs | Kurchatov Institute
By Matthew Bunn and Evgeny Velikhov

This report provides recommendations for Russia and the United States to address issues related to: safety; security; nonproliferation; extending uranium resources; waste management; cost reduction; and making nuclear energy more broadly available around the world, and more capable of addressing multiple needs.  The authors describe particular areas of joint research and development that should be undertaken, and the need to move forward with the bilateral Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, to provide a government-to-government framework for this cooperation. (click here to view)

The Security Implications of China's Nuclear Energy Expansion
June 2010 | Journal Article
The Nonproliferation Review 
By Yun Zhou

This article examines and evaluates security measures at Chinese civilian nuclear power plants and suggests ways to improve them. It also reviews current export control policies and systems, identifies likely challenges to the expanding nuclear sector, and proposes possible solutions. (click here to view)

Enabling a Nuclear Revival - and Managing Its Risks
Fall 2009 | Journal Article
By Matthew Bunn and Martin B. Malin

"Matthew Bunn and Martin B. Malin examine the conditions needed for nuclear energy to grow on a scale large enough for it to be a significant part of the world’s response to climate change. They consider the safety, security, nonproliferation, and waste management risks associated with such growth and recommend approaches to managing these risks. Bunn and Malin argue that although technological solutions may contribute to nuclear expansion in the coming decades, in the near term, creating the conditions for large-scale nuclear energy growth will require major international institutional innovation." (click here to view)

Securing China's Weapons-Usable Nuclear Material
February 2014 | Journal Article
Science and Global Security
By Hui Zhang

"This article describes the status of China’s military and civilian nuclear programs, fissile material production and associated nuclear facilities, and the Chinese nuclear experts and officials’ perspectives on the nuclear terrorism threat. It gives details of China’s nuclear security practices, attitudes, and regulations, as well as identifying areas of concern. The article recommends ways to strengthen China’s nuclear material protection, control, and accounting systems and suggests opportunities for increased international cooperation." (click here to view)

Nuclear Power Plant Security
September 2013 | Fact Sheet
Nuclear Energy Institute

"This fact sheet details the defense-in-depth philosophy used in the construction and operation of nuclear power plants, which provides high levels of protection for public health and safety." (click here to view)

Best Practice Guides on Security of Radioactive Sources
December 2012 | Best Practice Guide Series
World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS)

"The use of radioactive sources to inspect materials for hidden flaws is a valuable commercial assessment tool. Thousands of these sources are in use at any time all over the world. We know that the loss and theft of these high activity sources are a fairly common occurrence. If they are used maliciously, they have the potential to significantly harm individuals and the environment….WINS International Best Practice Guide explains how your organisation can help to reduce the risk of theft of your industrial radiography sources and enhance their security worldwide.” 

WINS Best Practice Guides are available to WINS members only (registration is free). The Best Practice Guides on Security of Radioactive Sources includes publications on:

  • Security of Industrial Radiography Sources
  • Security of High Activity Radioactive Sources
  • Security of Well Logging Radioactive Sources

Nuclear Cyber Security
By Manolya Rowe

 "This blog explores implementing the right security program for individual systems, system architectures and entire Nuclear Power Plants (NPP)." (click here to view)

Approaches to Strengthen China's Nuclear Security
July 2012 | Paper
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Hui Zhang

This paper assesses China’s material protection, control, and accounting approaches; analyzes existing regulations and administrative systems; and proposes ways of strengthening them. (click here to view)

Building a Better International Nuclear Security Standard
March 2012 | Working Paper
U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS
By William H. Tobey

"This paper illustrates the threat of nuclear terrorism and argues that, with their years of experience, the United States and Russia should articulate a nuclear security “gold standard” to other states." (click here to view)

Nuclear Energy and Global Governance: Ensuring Safety, Security and Non-proliferation
March 2012 | Book
By Trevor Findlay

"This  book examines comprehensively the drivers of and constraints on a prospective nuclear revival and its likely nature and scope." (click here to view)

Nuclear Safety and Security at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit 
March 2012 | Working Paper
U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS
By Sharon Squassoni

"In this paper, Sharon Squassoni explores the intersections of nuclear safety and nuclear security and how this discussion will likely be addressed at the upcoming 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit." (click here to view)

An Integrated Approach to Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Security
January 2011 | Best Practice Guide
World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS)

"This WINS International Best Practice Guide explains the factors that will help you provide an integrated approach to nuclear safety and nuclear security in your organisation….Today we understand that an integrated approach to nuclear safety and nuclear security is the best way to protect society and the environment. Without a strong approach to both, all stakeholders (including your organisation’s assets and staff, and those outside your organisation) are likely to be at greater risk from malicious acts."

Integrating Nuclear Safety and Security: Policy Recommendations
December 2011 | Memo
Center for Strategic and International Studies
By Kenneth Luongo, Sharon Squassoni, and Joel Wit

"As part of the international effort to further understand the intersection of nuclear safety and security in the post-Fukushima environment, the Center for Strategic and Intentional Studies (CSIS), US-Korea Institute at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and Partnership for Global Security (PGS) convened a workshop experts in late 2011 to discuss how crises have shaped nuclear safety policies, how operators balance and integrate safety and security practices at operating reactors, how the safety and security regimes can and should complement each other, and how the Seoul NSS may want to address the two issues at the next summit….The following captures key elements of the discussion at the workshop and may be of interest to policymakers ahead of the 2012 NSS." (click here to view)

The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy
September 2010 | Report
International Panel on Fissile Materials
Edited by Frank von Hippel

"This report argues nuclear power could make a significant contribution to the global electricity supply. Or it could be phased out — especially if there is another accidental or a terrorist-caused Chernobyl-scale release of radioactivity. If the spread of nuclear energy cannot be decoupled from the spread of nuclear weapons, it should be phased out." (click here to view)

Potential Strategic Consequences of the Nuclear Energy Revival
Summer 2010 | Paper
French Institute of International Relations | Security Studies Center
By Charles D. Ferguson

This paper assesses the potential consequences of increased nuclear power in the existing nuclear power states and most importantly in the many more states that have in recent years expressed interest in this power source. (click here to view)

The Interface Between Safety and Security at Nuclear Power Plants
January 2010 | Report
International Atomic Energy Agency | International Nuclear Safety Group

"This publication seeks to provide a better understanding of the interface between safety and security at nuclear power plants and to discuss the means to achieve both objectives in an optimal fashion. It provides information in a background chapter on the existing relevant documentation, discusses the expectations for administrative arrangements at different levels, surveys certain common principles, and suggests general solutions that can help ensure an integrated approach. Conclusions are drawn and high level recommendations are proposed with the goal of maximizing the protection of the public, property, society and the environment through an improved and strengthened interface between safety and security." (click here to view)

Engineering Safety Aspects of the Protection of Nuclear Power Plants Against Sabotage
January 2007 | Technical Guidance
International Atomic Energy Agency

"This report provides guidelines for evaluating the engineering safety aspects of the protection of nuclear power plants against sabotage. The guidance, which is the result of extensive dialogue among safety and security specialists, takes into account the existing robustness of structures, systems and components and emphasizes those aspects of sabotage protection that work synergistically with the protection against extreme external occurrences of accidental origin, such as earthquakes, tornadoes and human induced events." (click here to view)

Science and Technology to Counter Terrorism: Threats to Civilian Nuclear-Energy Facilities
January 2007 | Book Chapter
 The National Academies Press
By John Holdren

"This presentation begins by locating the threat of attack on civil nuclear-energy facilities in the larger terrain of nuclear-terrorism dangers. It goes on to describe the potentially dire consequences of a successful attack, to discuss the range of scenarios through which such attacks could unfold, and to characterize in some detail the opportunities, barriers, and determinants of consequences that shape the risk associated with this set of possibilities." (click here to view)