Russian nuke material more secure

Radiation contaminated area.

..and Sweden do better than Norway in new global Nuclear Threat Initiative index.


Radiation contaminated area.
Most weapons-grade nuclear material in Russia is stored here in Siberia. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

The NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index published this week is a first-of-its-kind analysis public baseline assessment of the status of nuclear materials security conditions around the world. The index lists all 32 countries around the globe that possess more than one kilogram of weapon-grade radioactive material. In other words; material useful for making the bomb.

Russia is ranked on the 24th place and by that remains one of the least-safe countries in respect of nuclear-security. The report however says today’s Russia and the Russia of 20 years ago is completely different. Russian authorities have attained significant achievements in reducing the nuclear threat and continued their work despite considerable economic difficulties in the 1990s, the report reads.

In Barents Russia, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish authorities have sponsored projects on physical protection of sites containing highly-enrich uranium, including the nuclear icebreaker-base Atomflot in Murmansk and the submarine naval yards in Severodvinsk.

The nuclear powered icebreaker base Atomflot outside Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula.
Russia’s nuclear powered icebreaker base Atomflot outside Murmansk has much better physical protection today than in the early 90ties. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

The NTI report today reads that Russia is above average on the list regarding on-site physical protection as well as Control and Accounting Procedures. On the downside, the report says Russia is below avarage because of the country’s pervasiveness of corruption, Quantities of Nuclear Materials. Transportation of nuclear material is also below average in Russia.

Norway is ranked on the 9th place. Physical on-site protection in Norway is above average, while transportation is just on average. Norway has small amounts weapons-grade radioactive material in use at its research reactor in Halden in southern Norway.

Sweden is ranked on the 7th place getting full-score on most safety measures, except of transportation safety, which is below average. Sweden had three nuclear power plants, as well as a plant for assembling uranium fuel elements for commercial reactors around the globe.

Finland does not have radioactive material of weapon-quality and is therefore not listed.

Australia tops the ranking, while North-Korea is at the bottom