National Statement: Spain


The Nuclear Security Summit process started in 2010 and represents a landmark in the international community’s efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. For the first time, a multilateral initiative is addressing new security threats with a preventive approach, in order to avoid terrorist attacks going beyond the conventional forms of terrorism. Moreover, this is an ambitious initiative in which national security capabilities and international cooperation reinforce each other.  Spain, with decades of counterterrorist experience and a wide-ranging nuclear infrastructure, has been from the very outset an active participant in the Summit process.

Throughout all these years, it has become increasingly clear that there is a need for a coherent and effective global nuclear security architecture, based on integrating the efforts and synergies coming from the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, INTERPOL, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and the Global Partnership. As a result of this collective effort five different Action Plans have been submitted to support these multilateral organizations and initiatives to be endorsed by the participating Governments at this Washington Summit.

The Government of Spain would like to take advantage of this opportunity to reaffirm its national and international commitments in priority areas for our national security and for that of other friendly nations.

-          Firstly, we must continue our efforts to foster in Spain a culture of nuclear security, including training activities in cooperation with our law enforcement agencies, the industry and academia. Spain also stands ready to share this experience with other countries. 

  • Secondly, we will reinforce our national forensic analysis capabilities on nuclear issues of our State Security Forces.
  • Thirdly, we will focus our efforts on developing cybersecurity capabilities, particularly for nuclear facilities, within the framework of the National Cybersecurity Plan.
  • The fourth priority area for Spain is nuclear security in maritime transport, including security management at Spanish ports. To this end we will carry out exercises focused on strategic areas, in accordance with the objectives of our Plan on National Maritime Security.
  • It is also important to raise awareness, at every level, on the security of radioactive sources, which are very widely used in hospitals and industry across Spain. In addition to promoting the entry into force of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (1987) and the implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005), the Government of Spain believes that the implementation and promotion of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Code of Conduct in this area, both at national and international levels, is an issue of vital importance for security, given the high number of these sources in use, and the special nature of management, decommissioning and storage processes.

The Spanish Government attaches great importance to a pragmatic approach in all these areas, which will require conducting practical exercises, both at national level and in cooperation with other countries.

The threat of nuclear terrorism requires a global response. This is why international efforts are so important. In this sense, Spain considers vital our cooperation with the United Nations, the IAEA, and INTERPOL, and we highly value the contribution of other initiatives in this area, including the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and the Global Partnership, which offer adequate and flexible frameworks for international cooperation through a pragmatic approach.

In the recent years, the international community has made important steps against the threat of nuclear terrorism, including the Nuclear Security Summit process.

Spain attaches great importance to Security Council Resolution 1540, and chairs in 2015-16 the 1540 Committee that monitors and promotes the implementation of this resolution. Spain encourages all States to participate in a constructive manner in the 1540 Comprehensive Review to take place this year in order to urgently strengthen the capacity of the international community to face such a threat to international peace and security.

At international level, Spain works within a privileged cooperation framework with the European Union, Latin-American and Mediterranean countries. In recent years, this policy has borne fruits such as the progress made with Morocco through a bilateral Action Plan, launched in collaboration with the IAEA, including noteworthy results as the Gate to Africa exercise in October 2015 on the security of transport of radioactive sources.

Spain and Morocco have made substantial joint progress on combating the risk of nuclear terrorism.  With the Gate to Africa exercise, we have improved law enforcement coordination and response capabilities when addressing a radiological emergency caused by a terrorist attack. Sixty-four observers from the IAEA Member States and representatives from seven international organizations took part in this exercise, which constituted a major contribution to strengthening the international nuclear security system.

This bilateral relationship between Morocco and Spain has set an international standard that will be promoted as a model at other international fora, such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the IAEA.

Fortunately, the world has not yet experienced the impact of nuclear terrorism. However, we know that the threat exists. As members of our Governments, it is our duty to protect our citizens, doing everything in our reach to prevent terrorist attacks with unpredictable consequences—and, should they occur, to stand ready to respond effectively to defend the victims and enforce the law.