On June 8, CRDF Global hosted a Thought Leadership Series event titled “Promoting Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy: Nuclear Security Priorities in the Next 5 Years” featuring a conversation with Ambassador (ret.) Laura S. H. Holgate, Vice President, Materials Risk Management, Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). Tom Callahan, Vice President, Strategy, Innovation, and Evaluation, CRDF Global moderated the event. CRDF Global President Ken Myers provided welcome remarks.
In her opening remarks, Amb. Holgate provided an overview of the proliferation risks posed by the global expansion of civilian nuclear energy. She addressed the status of international nonproliferation treaties such as the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and its upcoming review conference, as well as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its 2005 Amendment. Amb. Holgate underscored the importance of each nation to criminalize nuclear smuggling and enhance the capacity of law enforcement personnel to prevent, detect, and prosecute violators.
As the co-founding chair of the Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, which CRDF Global is a member of, Amb. Holgate emphasized the importance of diversification in the workforce as a factor of agility in response to global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. She also highlighted the struggles women have disproportionately faced in the nuclear field and pointed to the value that they bring for better outcomes.
In the Q&A portion of the event, Dr. Nilsu Goren asked Amb. Holgate questions from the audience that addressed the safeguards and verification requirements of advanced nuclear reactor designs such as small modular reactors, and the need for revisions to international and national regulations.