• The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is a world summit, aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the globe.
• The idea of Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) was initiated by the US President Barack Obama in 2009.
• Held every two years since 2010, these summits started with the recognition of the risks posed by plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU), the key ingredients for making nuclear weapons, and aimed to “secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years”.
• The first summit was held in Washington, D.C., United States, on April 12–13, 2010.
• The second summit was held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2012.
• The third summit was held in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 24–25, 2014.
• The fourth summit was held in Washington, D.C. on March 31–April 1, 2016. Notably absent from the summit were leaders or representatives of Russia, North Korea, Iran and Belarus.
The aim of the Nuclear Security Summit is to accost concern about fissile materials going into the wrong hands at a head-of-state level. It comprises minimizing the use of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU), aiding security at nuclear facilitates through improved national regulations and implementation of best practices, improved membership in International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), establishing measures to detect and impede illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials. Its other aims are to establish Centres of Excellence, built capacity, expand technology and harmonize assistance on nuclear Security.
Plans and actions to achieve key nuclear security goals, including:
• Minimizing the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU);
• Bolstering security at nuclear facilities through enhanced national regulations and implementation of best practices;
• Enhanced membership in international instruments and organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency;
• Instituting measures to detect and prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials; and,
• Centres of Excellence, build capacity, develop technology and coordinate assistance on nuclear Security.
Advantages of the NSS process:
• Actions at the NSS do not require consensus, as is the case at the IAEA or the UN.
• The NSS process employs the novel mechanisms of “house gifts”—through which countries can make unilateral commitments to nuclear security—and “gift baskets”—through which smaller groups of nations can make multilateral commitments.
• This flexibility has contributed a great deal to the success of the NSS.
As NSS covers nuclear material only for non-military purposes, 83 per cent of the nuclear material falls outside its ambit. Despite its intent, the NSS has also not been able to amend the IAEA’s convention on nuclear safety. The fact that there is no legally binding outcome at the end of six years of NSS process is its major drawback. The NSS process has instead focused on asking countries to tighten their national laws, rules and capabilities on nuclear security. This has meant that military facilities are treated as national responsibilities and dealt as per international obligations.