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The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a private group in Washington led by Mr. Nunn, is setting up the new organization, known as the World Institute for Nuclear Security, or WINS.
The institute intends to provide a forum where nuclear security professionals can meet and share information about how to keep dangerous materials out of unfriendly hands. Its focus will be less on locks and cameras than on such management issues as how to keep guards alert and how to foil sophisticated attackers.
The institute is modeled on the World Association of Nuclear Operators, an organization founded in London after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster to promote global atomic safety.
Mr. Nunn said that he got the idea for the security institute after working for the operator association and finding that its agenda gave little attention to preventing nuclear theft.
World Institute for Nuclear Security
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The World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) is the name of a new organization expected to be launched in 2008 with the goal of collecting and promoting best practices in nuclear material security. The effort has been led by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), the US Department of Energy and the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management(INMM), in close collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Through WINS, the professionals responsible for on-the-ground security will collect the world’s best security practices for dealing with nuclear facilities and materials and share that information with their peers worldwide. These security professionals are in the best position to know where the vulnerabilities are, how to improve security, and how to ensure that improvements are implemented quickly and effectively.
WINS will place a high priority on protecting sensitive information that may be discussed between members. While WINS’s scope of work will include both weapons-usable material and radioactive materials, its initial activities will concentrate on the most dangerous materials -- highly enriched uranium and plutonium, which can be used to make a nuclear weapon.
In launching WINS, former Senator Sam Nunn, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), announced that NTI, with financial support from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, has committed $3 million to the new organization. U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman announced that the Department of Energy is matching NTI’s gift with an additional $3 million. Ambassador Bengt Johansen of Norway announced his country’s support for WINS and an initial $100,000 contribution to support the participation of security professionals from developing states in WINS activities. WINS expects to leverage additional contributions from governments around the world and from the nuclear industry.