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At Seoul, world leaders vow to reduce nuke terror threat

March 27, 2012 13:03 IST
At the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul the focus is on countering nuclear terrorism, strengthening nuclear security and ensuring that nuclear material does not fall in the wrong hands.

We, the leaders, gathered in Seoul on March 26-27 renew the political commitments generated from the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit to work toward strengthening nuclear security, reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism, and preventing terrorists, criminals, or other unauthorised actors from acquiring nuclear materials. Nuclear terrorism continues to be one of the most challenging threats to international security. Defeating this threat requires strong national measures and international cooperation given its potential global political, economic, social, and psychological consequences.

We reaffirm our shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. 

Committed to seeking a safer world for all, we also all share the objective of nuclear security. We recognise that the Nuclear Security Summit is a valuable process at the highest political level, supporting our joint call to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years. In this regard, we welcome the substantive progress being made on the political commitments of participating States since the Washington Summit.  

We stress the fundamental responsibility of States, consistent with their respective national and international obligations, to maintain effective security of all nuclear material, which includes nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control, and to prevent non-state actors from acquiring such materials and from obtaining information or technology required to use them for malicious purposes. We likewise recognise the fundamental responsibility of States to maintain effective security of other radioactive materials.

We reaffirm that measures to strengthen nuclear security will not hamper the rights of States to develop and utilise nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Noting the essential role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in facilitating international cooperation and supporting the efforts of States to fulfill their nuclear security responsibilities, we further stress the importance of regional and international cooperation, and encourage States to promote cooperation with and outreach activities to international partners.

Noting the Fukushima accident of March 2011 and the nexus between nuclear security and nuclear safety, we consider that sustained efforts are required to address the issues of nuclear safety and nuclear security in a coherent manner that will help ensure the safe and secure peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

We will continue to use the Washington Communiqué and work plan as a basis for our future work in advancing our nuclear security objectives. At this Seoul Summit, we agree that we will make every possible effort to achieve further progress in the following important areas.

Global Nuclear Security Architecture

We recognise the importance of multilateral instruments that address nuclear security, such as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as amended, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. We therefore encourage the universal adherence to these conventions. We urge states in a position to do so to accelerate their domestic approval of the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM, seeking to bring the Amendment into force by 2014. We acknowledge the important role of the United Nations in promoting nuclear security, support the UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1977 in strengthening global nuclear security, and welcome the extension of its mandate. We will strive to use the IAEA Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities document and related Nuclear Security Series documents, and reflect them into national practice.

We recognise the contributions since the 2010 Summit of international initiatives and processes such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction, within their respective mandates and memberships. We welcome the wider participation in the GICNT and the Global Partnership and value its extension beyond 2012. Noting the importance of strengthening coordination and complementarity among nuclear security activities, we welcome the proposal of the IAEA to organise an international conference in 2013. We welcome contributions from the industry, academia, institutes and civil society that promote nuclear security.

Role of the IAEA

We reaffirm the essential responsibility and central role of the IAEA in strengthening the international nuclear security framework, and recognize the value of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan 2010-2013. We will work to ensure that the IAEA continues to have the appropriate structure, resources and expertise needed to support the implementation of nuclear security objectives. To this end, we encourage States in a position to do so and the nuclear industry to increase voluntary contributions to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund, as well as in-kind contributions. We also encourage continued IAEA activities to assist, upon request, national efforts to establish and enhance nuclear security infrastructure through its various support programs, and encourage States to make use of these IAEA resources.

Nuclear materials

Recognising that highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium require special precautions, we reemphasise the importance of appropriately securing, accounting for and consolidating these materials. We also encourage States to consider the safe, secure and timely removal and disposition of nuclear materials from facilities no longer using them, as appropriate, and consistent with national security considerations and development objectives.

We recognise that the development, within the framework of the IAEA, of options for national policies on HEU management will advance nuclear security objectives. We encourage States to take measures to minimise the use of HEU, including through the conversion of reactors from highly enriched to low enriched uranium fuel, where technically and economically feasible, taking into account the need for assured supplies of medical isotopes, and encourage States in a position to do so, by the end of 2013, to announce voluntary specific actions intended to minimize the use of HEU.  We also encourage States to promote the use of LEU fuels and targets in commercial applications such as isotope production, and in this regard, welcome relevant international cooperation on high-density LEU fuel to support the conversion of research and test reactors.

Radioactive sources

Taking into account that radioactive sources are widely used and can be vulnerable to malicious acts, we urge States to secure these materials, while bearing in mind their uses in industrial, medical, agricultural and research applications. To this end, we encourage States in a position to do so to continue to work towards the process of ratifying or acceding to the ICSANT; reflect into national practices relevant IAEA nuclear security series documents, the IAEA code of conduct on the safety and security of radioactive sources and its supplementary document on the IAEA guidance on the import and export of radioactive sources; and establish national registers of high-activity radioactive sources where required.  We also commit to work closely with the IAEA to encourage cooperation on advanced technologies and systems, share best practices on the management of radioactive sources, and provide technical assistance to States upon their request. In addition, we encourage continued national efforts and international cooperation to recover lost, missing or stolen sources and to maintain control over disused sources.

Nuclear security and safety

Acknowledging that safety measures and security measures have in common the aim of protecting human life and health and the environment, we affirm that nuclear security and nuclear safety measures should be designed, implemented and managed in nuclear facilities in a coherent and synergistic manner. We also affirm the need to maintain effective emergency preparedness, response and mitigation capabilities in a manner that addresses both nuclear security and nuclear safety.  In this regard, we welcome the efforts of the IAEA to organise meetings to provide relevant recommendations on the interface between nuclear security and nuclear safety so that neither security nor safety is compromised. We also welcome the convening of the high level meeting on nuclear safety and security initiated by the UN secretary-general, held in New York on 22 September 2011. Noting that the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials also includes spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, we encourage States to consider establishing appropriate plans for the management of these materials.

Transportation security

We will continue efforts to enhance the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials while in domestic and international transport, and encourage States to share best practices and cooperate in acquiring the necessary technologies to this end.  Recognising the importance of a national layered defense against the loss or theft of nuclear and other radioactive materials, we encourage the establishment of effective national nuclear material inventory management and domestic tracking mechanisms, where required, that enable States to take appropriate measures to recover lost and stolen materials.

Combating illicit trafficking

We underscore the need to develop national capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to and prosecute illicit nuclear trafficking. In this regard, we encourage action-oriented coordination among national capacities to combat illicit trafficking, consistent with national laws and regulations. We will work to enhance technical capabilities in the field of national inspection and detection of nuclear and other radioactive materials at the borders. Noting that several countries have passed export control laws to regulate nuclear transfers, we encourage further utilization of legal, intelligence and financial tools to effectively prosecute offenses, as appropriate and consistent with national laws. In addition, we encourage States to participate in the IAEA illicit trafficking database programme and to provide necessary information relating to nuclear and other radioactive materials outside of regulatory control.  We will work to strengthen cooperation among States and encourage them to share information, consistent with national regulations, on individuals involved in trafficking offenses of nuclear and other radioactive materials, including through Interpol's radiological and nuclear terrorism prevention unit and the world customs organisation. 

Nuclear forensics

We recognise that nuclear forensics can be an effective tool in determining the origin of detected nuclear and other radioactive materials and in providing evidence for the prosecution of acts of illicit trafficking and malicious uses. In this regard, we encourage States to work with one another, as well as with the IAEA, to develop and enhance nuclear forensics capabilities. In this regard, they may combine the skills of both traditional and nuclear forensics through the development of a common set of definitions and standards, undertake research and share information and best practices, as appropriate. We also underscore the importance of international cooperation both in technology and human resource development to advance nuclear forensics.

Nuclear security culture

Recognising that investment in human capacity building is fundamental to promoting and sustaining a strong nuclear security culture, we encourage States to share best practices and build national capabilities, including through bilateral and multilateral cooperation. At the national level, we encourage all stakeholders, including the government, regulatory bodies, industry, academia, non-governmental organisations and the media, to fully commit to enhancing security culture and to maintain robust communication and coordination of activities. We also encourage States to promote human resource development through education and training.  In this regard, we welcome the establishment of Centers of Excellence and other nuclear security training and support centers since the Washington Summit, and encourage the establishment of new centers. Furthermore, we welcome the effort by the IAEA to promote networking among such centers to share experience and lessons learned and to optimise available resources. We also note the holding of the Nuclear Industry Summit and the Nuclear Security Symposium on the eve of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

Information security

We recognise the importance of preventing non-state actors from obtaining information, technology or expertise required to acquire or use nuclear materials for malicious purposes, or to disrupt information technology based control systems at nuclear facilities. We therefore encourage States to: continue to develop and strengthen national and facility-level measures for the effective management of such information, including information on the procedures and protocols to protect nuclear materials and facilities; to support relevant capacity building projects; and to enhance cyber security measures concerning nuclear facilities, consistent with the IAEA General Conference Resolution on Nuclear Security and bearing in mind the International Telecommunication Union Resolution 174. We also encourage States to: promote a security culture that emphasises the need to protect nuclear security related information; engage with scientific, industrial and academic communities in the pursuit of common solutions; and support the IAEA in producing and disseminating improved guidance on protecting information.

International cooperation

We encourage all States to enhance their physical protection of and accounting system for nuclear materials, emergency preparedness and response capabilities and relevant legal and regulatory framework. In this context, we encourage the international community to increase international cooperation and to provide assistance, upon request, to countries in need on a bilateral, regional, and multilateral level, as appropriate. In particular, we welcome the intent by the IAEA to continue to lead efforts to assist States, upon request. We also reaffirm the need for various public diplomacy and outreach efforts to enhance public awareness of actions taken and capacities built to address threats to nuclear security, including the threat of nuclear terrorism.

We will continue to make voluntary and substantive efforts toward strengthening nuclear security and implementing political commitments made in this regard. We welcome the information on the progress made in the field of nuclear security since the Washington Summit provided by the participants at this Seoul Summit. The next Nuclear Security Summit will be held in (the Netherlands) in 2014.

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