In 2018, Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) conducted a policy study to consider approaches and measures appropriate for Thailand’s current situation on nuclear security as well as conforming to international legal instruments and standards. The research team led by the then OAP Deputy Secretary-General executed a study with qualitative methodology including literature reviews, gaps analysis by using IAEA self-assessment tools, in-depth interviews with key persons involving with national security and/or nuclear security, assessment of national nuclear security capabilities. The study aimed to evaluate nuclear security needs and priorities as well as draw significant results and recommendations to strengthen the national nuclear security regime.
The initial tool used in this study was literature reviews of international instruments related to nuclear security. The team studied various information sources such as the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, IAEA Nuclear Security Series, and relevant treaties and conventions. The reviews also covered a holistic view of national nuclear security regime as well as an implementation of public policy.
In the meantime, OAP cooperated with nearly twenty intragovernmental organizations to identify gaps and needs by using the IAEA-developed self-assessment tool, Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plan (INSSP). Through a support by the IAEA experts and national workshops, Thailand officially submitted the INSSP to the IAEA in April 2018. The INSSP has initiated the implementation of nuclear security activities that are now functioning according to the plan. After INSSP submission, OAP updated online information of Thailand’s nuclear security status in Nuclear Security Information Management System (NUSIMS) to make it consistent with the INSSP. It is noted that both IAEA-developed self-assessment tools, INSSP and NUSIMs, were useful and informative mechanisms to complete this work.
Since this is a policy study, assessment of national nuclear security capabilities was rather essential to take into account. The team studied the key responsibilities of OAP and national authorities such as Police, Military, National Security Council, etc. to see a whole picture of national nuclear security legislative framework. Moreover, the team requested to interview policymakers and experts from national authorities and IAEA to pull together different points of view to push forward Thailand’s nuclear security regime.
The results from the study showed many strengths as well as several downsides of Thailand’s nuclear security. Specific policies were drawn from these results through six measures including legislative and regulatory measure, threats and risk assessment, physical protection, detection of criminal acts, security response and sustainability. The results will be postulated as a recommended implementation plan in a form of OAP nuclear security roadmap and will be reflected in the national security policy hereafter. The results also provide insightful information for a project grant proposal related to national nuclear security. The details of how Thailand conducted a self-assessment study to strengthen national nuclear security regime will be explained in this paper.