Nuclear Security is a very important topic when it comes to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The history of the nuclear energy sector has concentrate its efforts in safeguards and safety, focusing on how to avoid proliferation and military uses of the nuclear technology, and how to protect the population and the environment from harmful effects of a possible radiation.
However, as a milestone, the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attack changed the way the world faces the terrorist threat, especially when it comes to the nuclear technology. The new reborn “pattern” of terrorism implies new adversaries, tactics, techniques and ways to attack. And now, the threat is global, leaving no place on earth away from this conflict. Adversaries are willing to do anything, by all means, everywhere, and not only specifically to Government or military facilities, but to the general population and “soft” and civilian targets.
With this new terrorism pattern, the nuclear technology could become an asset to spread fear, death and cause a huge psychological harm attached to a conventional explosive device. And the threat is real. For example, the IAEA ITDB and open source internet information has proven the willingness from different terrorist organizations to acquire this material to conduct malicious acts against society and the environment. That is why nuclear security is a growing topic among member states, and something that should develop nationally, but also regionally and as a global community.
That is why countries has to focus their efforts in building different capacities to strengthen nuclear security. This means, asses the needs for training and to conduct different capacitation to the technical personnel as well as law enforcement, on a diverse topics such as nuclear detections, emergency response, nuclear forensics, security during transportation of nuclear and radiological materials, insider threat mitigation, cybersecurity, among many others. A given country should further develop its capacities on nuclear security, upgrading and updating its protocols, procedures, equipment and knowledge on those topics. And then training and re-assessing its capabilities.
The protection and security of nuclear and radioactive materials becomes a top priority given the emergence of new threats. Building capacities on nuclear security, especially in countries with a middle range develop nuclear energy, helps acquire more social license, develop a more legitimate industry and guarantee a secure activity. This is the only way to achieve a sustainable nuclear industry.