Blockchain technology has started to permeate society in a variety of ways outside of being a ledger for digital transactions. Recently, SLAFKA, the world’s first blockchain prototype for safeguarding nuclear materials, was awarded the third prize for Innovation in Global Security by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy under its Geopolitics and Global Futures program. Unveiled in March 2020, SLAFKA relies on blockchains immutable ledger to add layers of trust, efficiency, reliability, and transparency to the management and safeguards of nuclear material.
SLAFKA, a joint project between Stimson Center’s Blockchain in Practice Program, Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, and the University of New South Wales in Australia received the award for recognition of excellence in using innovation to address international security concerns.
Various components of monitoring nuclear materials poses several challenges from analyzing the longterm integrity of spent fuel in underground storage, the overall data integrity, securely safeguarding all information from cyber attacks while maintaining confidentiality, and accurately storing all collected information over the coming decades. Over a rather short period of time, SLAFKA has demonstrated the ability that blockchain technology can positively impact the many challenges associated with storing and accurately monitoring nuclear material and the current inefficiencies that are present throughout today’s system.
Director of the Blockchain in Practice Program and SLAFKA project head Cindy Vestergaard recently commented that;
“The accounting of nuclear material is foundational to the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Although currently most State records are kept electronically, data integrity and correctness remain a challenge. Additionally, with growing cyber threats, the need for these systems’ security has increased significantly. We are honored to receive this prize and look forward to seeing the future of SLAFKA unfold with regulatory authorities around the world.”
Head of International Cooperation at Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, Elina Martikka also pointed out the need for accurate information that stands up against the test of time;
“Finland is currently constructing the world’s first geological repository for the spent nuclear fuel. It is important to us that the knowledge and information created during the disposal process remain unchanged for centuries to come. The information produced for safeguards contributes to ensuring that Finland fulfills its international obligation under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
SLAFKA is one of the very first programs of its kind to be developed with the goal of working hand-in-hand with international nonproliferation and disarmament organizations, various national authorities, and technology companies operating within the private sector to utilize the strengths of blockchain technology to aid society in such a prolific way.
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