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14 March 2024

King's launches new handbook to strengthen nuclear security in North Africa

The handbook examines nuclear security challenges in North Africa, offering vital insights to strengthen regional and global strategies.

yellow radioactive waste barrels

King’s College London's Centre for Science & Security Studies has published a groundbreaking handbook that examines nuclear security challenges in North Africa, offering crucial insights to strengthen regional and global security. Featuring contributions from experts from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Egypt, the handbook delves into nuclear and radiological case studies and policies spanning from the 1950s to present day.

The handbook highlights several key conclusions about nuclear and radiological security challenges, implications, and lessons related to nuclear and radiological security. Authors emphasise the necessity for strong security strategies within industries handling nuclear and radiological materials, and demonstrate the significant progress made by Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt in creating practical policies.

Authors highlight the role of international cooperation and information sharing, and the role of public awareness campaigns. The cases stress the importance of contingency plans and engaging stakeholders to protect materials during periods of civil unrest and conflict. Overall, these studies reflect the advancement in these countries by showing how important it is to have plans that adapt to evolving threats.

Dr Zenobia Homan, Co-editor of the handbook and Research Fellow at CSSS, said the case studies offered crucial insights beyond conventional Eurocentric perspectives that are vital to enhance nuclear security in the region.

“While Europe's case studies offer valuable insights, their direct relevance to North Africa's distinct context is limited due to differing political and economic landscapes. This handbook offers a nuanced exploration by experts that focuses on North Africa’s unique challenges, strengths and opportunities. It not only enhances regional security but also contributes to the global improvement of nuclear security protocols."

Dr Zenobia Homan, Co-editor of the handbook and Research Fellow at CSSS

Through navigating the nuclear and radiological security in North Africa, authors have been able to underscore challenges shared with neighbouring countries.

The authors highlight the historical impact of colonialism and how its influence on the nuclear security landscape in North Africa has both positive and negative repercussions of interventions in the region. Moreover, the willingness of North African countries to cooperate with the international community to address shared security concerns demonstrates commitment to strengthen nuclear security infrastructures and regulatory frameworks. Partnerships with foreign entities and international organisations have allowed the advancement on nuclear capabilities in infrastructure.

The societal and political context of North African countries plays a significant role in shaping their nuclear security approaches. Factors such as regional power dynamics, national defence aspirations, and societal perceptions of nuclear security contribute to the strategies and priorities implemented by these nations. These lessons have importance beyond the region, as they can help improve nuclear security worldwide. By conducting post-incident analysis and implementing the necessary corrective actions, this contributes to the ongoing nuclear security protocols around the world.

The handbook serves as a valuable tool to support these initiatives, offering discussion points for essential education and training on navigating nuclear and radiological security effectively.

Navigating nuclear and radiological security in North Africa: a case study handbook is available to read on King’s College London’s website.

In this story

Zenobia Homan 540px format

Research Fellow and Project Coordinator