PM SOLBERG NORWAY STATEMENT
I would like to express my appreciation to President Obama for hosting this fourth Nuclear Security Summit here in Washington D.C., and for his political leadership in the summit process. We are gathered to take stock of our common efforts to secure nuclear material, radiological sources and associated facilities against theft and sabotage. The consequences of a nuclear terrorist attack would be devastating. We cannot allow this to happen.
Nuclear security remains a top priority for Norway. However, improved nuclear security requires not only national and bilateral efforts, but also regional and multilateral efforts. And our common security will benefit from a strong global architecture for nuclear security.
The Nuclear Security Summits have brought political attention to the risk of nuclear terrorism, and we have achieved important results. The securing of nuclear materials has been improved, and many states have returned their material to the supplier state. Moreover, an increasing number of states have signed, ratified and implemented international legal instruments on nuclear security. The summit ‘gift baskets’ have been important drivers for deeper commitment. By emphasising the leading role of the IAEA, the summit process has paved the way for a sustainable global nuclear security architecture in the future. With its authority and expertise in the field, it is natural that the IAEA plays a pivotal role in the nuclear security domain. To do so, however, it needs predictable and sustainable funding.
Legal instruments are crucial. Norway has ratified the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM); we have adopted the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, with its supplementary guidance document; and we have ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT). I will take this opportunity to congratulate the US Government with their ratifications of these two instruments in 2015, which is an important achievement. We encourage all other states that have not done so to sign and ratify these important legal instruments. Let me add that Norway has also promoted negotiations on the proposed Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT).
Since the last summit in The Hague, Norway has intensified its activities in key areas:
- First, Norway strongly advocates minimising and eliminating the use and stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU), by converting to non-HEU alternatives. It is especially important when building new reactors to choose technologies that are not based on HEU. Transferring to non-HEU alternatives will reduce the nuclear-weapons-usable material to a minimum. At this summit, Norway is presenting a new initiative for making further progress on minimising and eliminating the use of HEU. We are proud to present a gift basket entitled NSS 2016: Gift Basket on Minimizing and Eliminating the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Applications. We are very pleased to see that a large number of countries have subscribed to this gift basket.
- Second, Norway gives high priority to cooperation with Ukraine on nuclear security issues. At the Hague Summit, Norway and Sweden presented a plan to strengthen this cooperation. This was in response to Ukrainian concerns that the conflict in Ukraine could threaten its nuclear facilities and that radioactive sources could fall into wrong hands. We have since expanded our efforts in Ukraine. Together with the US, we are engaged in various projects on radioactive source security and border control. In addition, we are engaged in wide-ranging bilateral projects with the Ukrainian regulatory authorities. Later this year, Norway will initiate a meeting in the Global Partnership to review the lessons learned from our joint activities in Ukraine and discuss how to take this work further.
- Let me add that Norway has worked consistently to reduce nuclear risks in the High North. Over the past 20 years, Norway has cooperated closely with Russia on nuclear safety and security to resolve the challenges stemming from the legacy of the Cold War. We have allocated USD 230 million to projects in north-western Russia. These funds have made it possible to reduce the threats from one of the world’s largest stocks of poorly secured fissile material. These efforts are ongoing, and in 2017 we will start the comprehensive work of removing spent fuels from around 100 nuclear submarines reactors in Andreeva Bay, the former nuclear submarine service base for Russia’s Northern Fleet.
- Third, among the IAEA’s many important activities, the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) is especially important for nuclear security. IPPAS missions assist states in strengthening their national nuclear security regime and its implementation. Norway hosted an IPPAS mission in 2015, which resulted in a number of recommendations that are to be followed up by the operator and the Norwegian authorities. Let me share three priority areas where we will increase domestic efforts: cyber threats, insider threats, and ensuring good communication and coordination between various government agencies on threat assessments of – and response to – nuclear security incidents.
- Fourth, we must make sure that all nuclear and radiological materials, both civilian and non-civilian, are included in our efforts to strengthen nuclear security. This means that in addition to transferring from HEU to non-HEU fuels, we also need to adopt alternative technologies that do not rely on radioactive material. Preventing unauthorised personnel from having access to high-activity radioactive sources reduces the risk of terrorism involving radiological material. In 2015, Norway finished phasing out the use of high-activity sources in blood irradiators, having gradually replaced them with x-ray based irradiators. These are no longer a security concern.
- Fifth, as a follow up on the 2014 gift basket on Enhancing Radiological Security, Norway recently hosted a World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) workshop on the status of actions taken and challenges encountered by the signatories of the gift basket. Forty-seven participants from seventeen countries together with the IAEA attended this event. They shared valuable experiences, common practices, and lessons learned. The participants represented a wide variety of authorities, organisations and entities.
- Sixth, Norway contributed actively to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under the agreement, Iran has committed itself to restricting its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, and Norway provided support for 60 000kg natural uranium and its transportation from Kazakhstan to Iran, amounting to around USD 6 million. This allowed Iran to dispose of its excess low-enriched uranium, which was then transported out of the country. Experts from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority verified and controlled the transportation of the natural uranium. Norway has also provided extraordinary funding for the IAEA’s monitoring of the implementation of this agreement and its predecessor since 2013. So far, this has amounted to USD 2 million.
Dismantling nuclear weapons in a balanced, irreversible and verifiable manner and reducing the stocks of weapons-usable material are effective ways of preventing nuclear terrorism. Norway has been engaged in nuclear security efforts for many years. We see these efforts as an integral part of our work on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the ultimate goal of a safer world without nuclear weapons.
We need a global system for securing nuclear materials that holds all states accountable to a set of common standards and best practices. We are all responsible for nuclear security, and we must act together. It is still a matter of the utmost urgency.