Nuclear Security Summit - Important Facts for UPSC

Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is an initiative that was announced by the United States in 2009. It is a global submit to check nuclear terrorism all over the world. There are four nuclear security summits as of 2021. The latest summit was in 2016. It is important for IAS Exam aspirants to know relevant facts about the NSS for their UPSC Mains GS 2 (International Relations) and GS 3 (Terrorism) preparation.

Must-Know Facts about Nuclear Security Summit

  1. The United States’ president Barack Obama has coined this concept of Nuclear Security Summit.
  2. It is held every two years. [Note: After 2016, there is no information available about NSS 2018, 2020.]
  3. The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in 2010 at Washington DC.
  4. The second and third NSS are mentioned below:
    • Second Nuclear Security Summit – 2012 at Seoul in South Korea.
    • Third Nuclear Security Summit – 2014 at Hague in the Netherlands.
    • Fourth Nuclear Security Summit – 2016 at Washington DC.
  5. The main aim of the NSS is to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials.

Aim of Nuclear Security Summit

  1. To secure fissile materials from being misused.
  2. Minimization of the use of highly Enriched Uranium (HEU.)
  3. Proposal and implementation of improved and transparent national regulations to aid security at nuclear facilities.
  4. Improvement in the membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  5. Reduce and final end illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials.

Significance of Nuclear Security Summit

The maiden summit was in the USA at Washington, D.C in the year 2010. It was conducted at the initiative of the then US president Barack Obama and saw participation from 47 countries. The goal of the summit was to enhance nuclear security all over the world by augmenting cooperation and secure concrete agreements which would secure nuclear materials and facilities. As a result of the NSS, the Washington Work Plan was created. This is a set of action points and concrete plans. The Washington Communique was also set out which consists of the commitments and declarations of intent of the various participating nations.

  1. The NSS was not a consensus-driven initiative, unlike the United Nations (UN) or IAEA.
  2. the participating countries were free to make voluntary commitments in favour of the summit and towards nuclear security.
  3. There were provisions of ‘house gifts’ and ‘gift baskets’:
    • House Gift – Through which countries can make unilateral commitments to nuclear security
    • Gift Basket – through which smaller groups of nations can make multilateral commitments.

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Limitations of Nuclear Security Summit

  1. The nuclear material that was covered under the NSS was about non-military purpose. Hence, it left out around 83 percent of nuclear material that fell out its ambit.
  2. The role of NSS was limited and couldn’t be used for amending the IAEA’s convention on nuclear safety.
  3. The NSS did not have any legally-binding protocols that could foster and catalyse the steps towards enhanced nuclear safety.

Frequently Asked Questions on Nuclear Security Summit

Q 1. When was the first Nuclear Security Summit held?

Ans. The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in 2010 in Washington DC. Former US President Barack Obama had coined this concept of Nuclear Security Summit.

Q 2. What is the function of the Nuclear Security Summit?

Ans. The Nuclear Security Summit was started with an aim to secure fissile materials from being misused. It also aimed at reducing and bringing an end to illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials.

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