Promoting Greater Transparency
The goal of promoting greater transparency is to increase international confidence in the nuclear security regime by demonstrating that best practices are being implemented. The NSGEG members have in their workshops deliberated the following issues and questions and prepared papers considering how to promoting greater transparency.
Promoting Greater Transparency for Effective Nuclear Security, Summary of October 2012 Workshop and Initial Policy Recommendations
Improving Information Sharing in the Current Regime
- How can the existing elements of the nuclear security regime—including the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the International Atomic Energy Agency, UN Security Resolutions 1373 and 1540, and the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction—be better utilized or potentially modified to ensure a better flow of information to enhance global confidence in nuclear security?
Migrating Safety and Safeguards Mechanisms to Nuclear Security
- The nuclear safety regime has several valuable elements, including regular domestic reviews, reporting and information sharing, and peer reviews that, if applied in the nuclear security regime, could improve transparency. What strategies can be employed to apply these concepts in the nuclear security area?
- International safeguards are required for non-nuclear weapon state parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the information collection process from decades of safeguards inspections could hold some lessons learned that could be applied in nuclear security.
Incentives for Transparency
- Incentivizing participation in a nuclear security system that is more transparent could avoid some of the challenges posed by mandatory reporting and information sharing requirements, and it could reward nations that voluntarily participate. How could nations and regions that improve domestic protection be politically and financially rewarded? Is there benefit to providing certifications and awards for the implementation of best practices? Should countries develop bilateral and multilateral confidentiality agreements to protect information sharing?
Protecting Information in a More Transparent Environment
- Introducing increased transparency into the nuclear security system must be done cautiously to ensure the protection of sensitive information. One challenge revolves around how to promote international confidence building through greater transparency without revealing sensitive information or vulnerabilities. Another issue is how to accurately define what types of information would be most valuable for the purposes of increasing international confidence.
Building Confidence in Information Sharing
- The major benefit of expanding transparency in the nuclear security regime is to build international confidence that there are no “weak links” in the global system. But developing this expanded web of transparency will require balancing the well-established principles of sovereignty and confidentiality with the emerging requirement for global responsibility in ensuring high levels of nuclear security.
- While governments and the nuclear industry traditionally have been the most prominent nuclear security stakeholders, the public and expert community have emerged as important partners on this issue, especially through the Nuclear Security Summit process. How to continue to tie together all the major stakeholders in the future is an important issue. Options include regularized broad stakeholder conferences, informal consultations, employment of the nuclear security centers of excellence, expanded interactions with industry associations (WANO, WNA, INPO, WINS), or the development of other international mechanisms.