A Multilevel Approach To Addressing Emerging Technologies In Nuclear Security

Ian Andrews - National Nuclear Security Agency
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Abstract INMM 62nd Annual Meeting August 21-26, 2021, Vienna, Austria A Multilevel Approach to Addressing Emerging Technologies in Nuclear SecurityIan Andrews (NNSA Office of Global Material Security); Nickolas Roth, Rebecca Earnhardt, and Chase Enright (Stimson Center)Emerging technologies present a unique set of challenges to operators and regulators. Although emerging technologies can be used to strengthen nuclear security systems, they also can increase risks to nuclear facilities. The disruptive nature of emerging technologies could also leave operators unprepared for threats to nuclear materials or facilities. To address the potentially dangerous consequences associated with these innovations, strong adaptive mechanisms and international cooperation on threat mitigation and technological integration are vital. This paper examines the nuclear security implications of emerging technologies from an institutional (as opposed to technology-specific) perspective. Drawing on insights from a recent workshop series hosted by the Stimson Center and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Global Material Security, as well as research funded by Global Material Security and separate research conducted by Stimson, the paper begins with a definition of emerging technology that bounds the scope of the problem while leaving some margin for expert interpretation. The subsequent sections highlight the challenges as well as potential benefits that these technologies pose at each level of the nuclear security establishment, from the operators of sites hosting radiological or nuclear material, to regulators and national policy makers, to international institutions. Each section also includes specific recommendations for incorporating emerging technologies into radiological and nuclear security planning.