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Nuclear and cyber security, fight against terrorism

Created: 2014.02.07 / Updated: 2017.06.12 09:02

Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) Process

International community aims to continuously promote actions to strengthen global nuclear security and help countries to prevent smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive materials, share best practices, develop institutional and legal frameworks, implement security measures and promote training. This interest is fully recognized in the process of Nuclear Security Summits. 

Nuclear security is one of the key priorities identified by President Obama in the 2009 Prague Summit speech. First Nuclear Security Summit (Nuclear Security Summit, NSS) was held in its aftermath in Washington in 2010, laying foundations for the strategic process. Washington NSS helped identify national commitments to reduce stockpiles of highly enriched uranium, to sign fundamental conventions and other agreements on non-proliferation, to commit to the global fight against nuclear terrorism, to create centers of excellence and to contribute to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Security Fund.

Lithuania joined the NSS process in the second Summit in Seoul. In the Seoul NSS, participants agreed to continue with the ratification processes of essential nuclear security legal instruments, to focus on nuclear safety implications on nuclear security, and to jointly seek a coordinated approach to countering nuclear smuggling. Other priorities of the Seoul NSS included development of qualified human resources via centers of excellence, strengthening of cyber security in nuclear facilities, and enhanced public information plans on nuclear security threats.

Third Nuclear Security Summit (The Hague, 2014) was dedicated to transparency and confidence building measures. Participant countries were encouraged to show how their national systems and regulatory mechanisms ensure full security of respective nuclear facilities (nuclear power plants, uranium enrichment facilities, research institutes, training reactors, hospitals). Communitarian spirit was identified as essential in this regard, in giving more opportunities of information sharing about national nuclear security systems, bilateral and multilateral contacts, and regional cooperation.

NSS series reached its highpoint in Washington in 2016. Washington NSS was attended by the President of the Republic of Lithuania and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Washington Summit, the fourth and the last of this scope and level, was the pinnacle of the NSS process. The final Summit was dedicated to the threats of nuclear terrorism and strengthening of the nuclear security culture. Among the issues discussed - international nuclear security standard development and exchange of advanced nuclear security practices.

Nuclear Security Summit process is founded on political will of the states and their determination to seek deeper international cooperation to enhance existing institutional structures. NSS operates by means of nuclear security initiatives or statements (dubbed "gift baskets"), issued to ensure a thorough implementation of the NSS commitments.

Five Action Plans, adopted during the Washington NSS, called for particular actions in collaboration with international organizations and initiatives - the United Nations, the IAEA, Interpol (drafting process of the Interpol action plan was coordinated by Lithuanian diplomats), Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GP).

Since the Seoul NSS of 2012, Lithuania continues to support two nuclear security initiatives (“gift baskets”):

1. Cooperation in Countering the Smuggling of Nuclear Materials – implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nuclear Security Center of Excellence (NSCOE). As part of the efforts under this initiative, Lithuania (together Jordan and the United States), held an event on countering the nuclear smuggling in the margins of the Nuclear Security Conference in Vienna in December 2016.

2. Cooperation on nuclear security training and centers of excellence. This gift basket is of a particular relevance to Lithuania, and is directly related to the activity of NSCOE.

Prior to the Washington NSS in 2016, Lithuania signed up to three additional initiatives:

3. Nuclear Security Contact Group. Main objective of this group is to seek opportunities for a high-level intergovernmental contact upon the conclusion of the NSS process, and to create new forms of cooperation in the implementation of the NSS objectives. Lithuania is represented in the Contact Group by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

4. Strengthening the Security of High Activity Sealed Radioactive Sources (HASS). “Gift basket” is dedicated to security of the sealed sources and cooperation between the HASS-parties, and sharing best practices in dealing with these sources. Lithuanian Radiation Protection Center is responsible for supervision of the national contributions to this initiative, as Lithuania remains very actively involved in technical cooperation with the IAEA and other international formats in this field.

5. Security of the Marine Supply Chain initiative, proposed by the United Kingdom in 2016 is implemented in Lithuania by the NSCOE and Lithuanian Customs.

Lithuania’s continuous commitment to the NSS goals are reflected in its public national progress report.

Together with the international community, Lithuania is seeking practical disarmament and non-proliferation measures. The Nuclear Security Summit process has highlighted the need to secure nuclear materials and prevent acts of nuclear terrorism and proliferation. Lithuania will remain supportive of the NSS objectives and continuity in anticipation of a further, deeper, verifiable and irreversible decrease in all nuclear arsenals, as well as a continuing reduction of their role in national security strategies.

Lithuania‘s commitment to nuclear security, safeguards and non-proliferation is long standing: a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Lithuania ratified the 2005 Amendment of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) in 2008, has an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).


Nuclear Security Centre of Excellence


Nuclear Security Centre of Excellence (NSCOE) was introduced by the President of the Republic of Lithuania in the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in 2012. NSCOE has significantly developed its operational capacity in supporting sustainability and effectiveness of the national nuclear security measures and their development. Lithuania remains keen to further employ and expand regional potential of the Center of Excellence as a full-scale capacity-building and training institution in prevention, detection, response, and investigation of nuclear and radiological smuggling.

The NSCOE initiative represents a national contribution to the global fight against proliferation, unauthorized possession and illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials and threat of nuclear terrorism. The Centre is committed to fostering nuclear security culture via personnel training and education.

Government of Lithuania and other public stakeholders established the NSCOE within the Lithuanian Border Guard Service (SBGS) system – initially, as a structural unit of the Border Guard School. As of September 1, 2016, the NSCOE is integrated into the Border Control Management Board and has additional functions of:

  • coordination of the SBGS radiation detection activities at the State Border;

  • technical support of the detection instruments deployed at the border checkpoints;

  • Management and coordination of the physical protection of Lithuanian nuclear facilities (Ignalina NPP).


    NSCOE projects and objectives

NSCOE mission is to support the nuclear security personnel in their professional development and serve as a platform for national and international cooperation in the field of nuclear security training and to:

  • Organize and implement trainings, workshops, seminars and exercises on countering the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials;

  • Facilitate and promote cooperation and coordination among national institutions in the field ofnuclear security;

  • Develop international cooperation in nuclear security capacity building.

Main focus of training activities offered by NSCOE is to provide knowledge and develop skills in the areas of detection and response to the nuclear security incident. Significant part of the NSCOE curricula is dedicated to the nuclear security detection infrastructure and its sustainability, use and basic maintenance of Radiation Portal Monitors and handheld equipment. Activities of the Centre are mainly focused on the nuclear and radioactive materials out of the regulatory control (e.g. stolen, illicitly trafficked or smuggled; or orphaned sources).

Target audience for the NSCOE is mainly law enforcement personnel of border and public security agencies, counter terrorism and radiological security institutions. NSCOE provides its services to both national and international institutions in Lithuanian and English languages. NSCOE seeks to further develop international cooperation capabilities in the area of nuclear security training and pursues various opportunities for a sustainable advancement of its international cooperation.

Global Community against Terrorism

Terrorism has been on the international agenda since 1934. Among 18 universal conventions and protocols (14 instruments and 4 amendments) the UN Security Council adopted several conventions related to terrorism. The most important of them is UN Security Council Resolution No. 1373, adopted on 28 September 2001, a few weeks after 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington.

In September 2006 Member States of the UN embarked upon a new phase in their counter-terrorism efforts by agreeing on a global strategy to counter terrorism. The Strategy marks the first time that all Member States of the United Nations have agreed to a common strategic and operational framework to fight terrorism. The Strategy forms a basis for a concrete plan of action: to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; to prevent and combat terrorism; to take measures to build state capacity to fight terrorism; to strengthen the role of the United Nations in combating terrorism; and to ensure the respect of human rights while countering terrorism.

In December 2005, European Union has elaborated the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, based on four pillars: prevention, protection, pursuit and response.

Internal and external counter-terrorism aspects are regularly discussed in relevant EU working parties. The European Union institutions are coordinating counter-terrorism activities. The position of the EU Counter-Terrorism was established by the Council of the EU.

Other international and regional organizations and initiatives such as NATO, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, are addressing different aspects of counter-terrorism in their activities.

On the international sanctions related to terrorism follow here.

Lithuanian contribution in counter-terrorism

National security strategy of the Republic of Lithuania is noting the international terrorism as one of the factors forming Lithuania‘s security policy agenda. Yet, this threat to Lithuania is more external – the current internal environment and historical experience do not create conditions for terrorist groups to be formed.

Lithuania is actively participating in the international counter-terrorism frameworks. In the second half of 2013, during the Lithuanian Presidency to the Council of the EU, the Lithuanian representatives chaired the EU Council working parties on internal and external counter-terrorism aspects.

On 1 January 2014, Lithuania commenced a two year term on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Lithuania took over the Presidency of the Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee and its relevant Working Group.

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