Blockchain offers new opportunities for safeguards of nuclear materials
The importance of reliable safeguarding of nuclear materials increases as the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel proceeds. With blockchain, information on nuclear materials would be maintained unchanged far into the future.
The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), the Henry L. Stimson Center and the University of New South Wales have today presented in Helsinki the opportunities presented by blockchain technology for keeping nuclear material records and for safeguarding of nuclear materials. The purpose of the SLAFKA system, which is currently in the piloting phase, is to investigate whether blockchain is a solution to problems related to the long-term retention and processing of data in nuclear material records.
Pursuant to the Non-Profilation Treaty (NPT), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervises that states have no unreported nuclear materials and that nuclear materials remain in peaceful use. This is ensured through audits and nuclear material records based on data on the amount and type of nuclear materials in nuclear power plants, for example, which are verified through measurements. National authorities, in Finland STUK, and operators submit the required reports on the use of nuclear materials to the IAEA and the European Commission.
”In the existing model, nuclear material records are based on electronic documents that involve common problems: version management, data correctness and information security call for special attention. With blockchain technology, register data could be available to the authorities correct and unchanged. This would also improve the efficiency of international nuclear material supervision processes,” says Elina Martikka, International Cooperation Manager at STUK.
Final disposal of nuclear waste introduces new challenges
Finland is an especially interesting pilot area for keeping nuclear material records based on blockchain technology, as Posiva is building a final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel at Eurajoki, the first of its kind in the world.
”When spent nuclear fuel is placed at a depth of almost 500 metres inside the bedrock and the tunnels are closed, it is no longer possible to secure the material physically. This emphasises the importance of the integrity and retention of nuclear material records, an issue now to be addressed with blockchain technology,” says Martikka.
According to Finnish and international assessments, the final disposal of high-activity nuclear waste in the bedrock is the safest way of taking care of the spent nuclear fuel of nuclear power plants. There is considerable international interest in Finnish nuclear waste management expertise, as most of the countries utilising nuclear energy still have not solved the waste issue.
- Project of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), the Henry L. Stimson Center and the University of New South Wales.
- The aim is to develop a system for keeping nuclear material records using blockchain technology.
- SLAFKA is based on the Hyperledger Fabric DLT platform (Distributed Ledger Technology) developed by IBM and maintained by the Linux Foundation, which is intended for business use to create user-restricted systems.
- The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been in force for 50 years now.
Elina Martikka, Head of International Cooperation, tel. +358 (0)9 759 88 373, email@example.com
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