New Report Assesses Progress on Nuclear Security Efforts

Multilateral Efforts Help Improve Nuclear Security, But States Still Need to Deliver Greater Transparency and a Long-Term Plan to Strengthen the Global Nuclear Material Security System

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2014

Media Contacts: Michelle Cann, Senior Budget and Policy Analyst, PGS (202-332-1412); Kelsey Davenport, Nonproliferation Analyst, ACA (202-463-8270); Sarah Williams, Nuclear Policy Analyst, PGS, (202-332-1412).

(Washington, D.C.) As 53 states prepare to meet in The Hague March 24-25 for the third Nuclear Security Summit, a new report released today by the Arms Control Association (ACA) and the Partnership for Global Security (PGS), finds that multilateral initiatives from the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit are improving targeted areas of nuclear security, but more ambitious initiatives are needed to address the lack of transparency and regime cohesion in the global nuclear security system.

While the three previous ACA-PGS reports on the Nuclear Security Summit process have focused on state actions, the 2014 edition, The Nuclear Security Summit: Assessment of Joint Statements, examines the progress made on the 13 joint statements presented at the 2012 summit. These multilateral initiatives allowed for like-minded states to collaborate on advancing common nuclear security goals.  

"The joint statements model has proven a useful vehicle for likeminded states to collaborate on specific projects to address gaps in the current nuclear security system," said Michelle Cann, senior budget and policy analyst at PGS and co-author of the report.

"However, not every statement was equally effective, and most were narrowly focused. Countries must begin to put short-term projects like those described in these joint statements into the broader context of a long-term effort to improve the nuclear security system," she added.

"While states have made measurable progress in meeting several sets of key goals outlined in their joint statements, the lack of structure and reporting requirements also resulted in some statements without any specific work plans or deliverables," said Kelsey Davenport, nonproliferation analyst for ACA and co-author of the report.

"The joint statement model should be carried forward into the 2014 and 2016 summits, but future joint statements should have at least one clear deliverable and incorporate time for follow-up by participants and reporting to the international community," she suggested.

The 27-page ACA-PGS report describes the actions taken on each of the 13 joint statements since the 2012 summit. Highlights include:

  • A National Legislation Implementation Kit has been drafted in partnership with the nongovernmental organization VERTIC to facilitate the adoption of the international conventions and treaties related to nuclear security.
  • Low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel powder has been developed for fuel fabrications and testing under the Quadrilateral Cooperation on High-Density LEU Fuel Production statement to aid in the conversion of research reactors from highly-enriched uranium fuel.
  • Five projects supporting summit goals are being implemented by the new nuclear and radiological material security sub-working group of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
  • A meeting and exercise was held in support of the Transport Security statement the results of which are being fed into recommendations at the 2014 summit and a best practice guide.
  • The Nuclear Information Security statement has been left open for additional signature to encourage broader participation and signatories took a survey of actions to document progress.

"While these joint statements helped clarify states' goals and focus efforts to improve nuclear security, limited multilateral actions will not contribute to the overall strengthening of the global nuclear security system," said Sarah Williams, nuclear policy analyst a PGS and co-author of the report.

"Broad international cooperation is still needed in a number of areas to address significant remaining global nuclear security challenges. Looking forward to the 2016 summit, NSS participants should push for a more cohesive, transparent, and effective nuclear security regime that includes more standardized reporting mechanisms and review measures to earn the confidence of the global community," Williams added.

The full report, The Nuclear Security Summit: Assessment of Joint Statements, is available online here.

The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

The Partnership for Global Security mounts a global effort to strengthen global nuclear security governance and promotes practical policies to ensure all nuclear material and facilities are secure.