The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington is a welcome occasion to take stock of what we have achieved in the past six years. Looking back at President Obama’s Prague speech in 2009 and the subsequent Nuclear Security Summits in Washington in 2010, in Seoul in 2012, and in The Hague in 2014, and at developments since, we can proudly note that the international community has come a long way in strengthening nuclear security globally. Germany has been engaged in the Nuclear Security Summit process right from the beginning. A lot has been achieved, both nationally and globally, but the challenges posed by the dangerous combination of terrorism, proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction and regional conflicts remain.
In this context North Korea´s ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile programs as well as its proliferation activities represent a great danger and are blatant violations of several UN-Security Council resolutions.
Nuclear security must be seen in the larger context of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Action to ensure non-proliferation is as important as enhancing nuclear security systems. While we call for tangible progress in the field of nuclear disarmament in the near future, close and effective cooperation to combat the risks of nuclear proliferation and to bolster our defenses against the threats emanating from terrorism are tasks we all need to work on.
Germany is proud to be part of this initiative.
Germany has decided to phase out nuclear power but respects the sovereign right of each country to choose its own energy mix and supply. Germany will in any case be involved in nuclear power for many years to come, since German nuclear power plants will not cease production until 2022 and nuclear safety is still extremely relevant with regard to nuclear power plants in neighboring countries. Thus, safe nuclear technology and close cooperation with our partners will remain high on Germany’s agenda.
Germany is now focusing on the back end of the fuel cycle. Dismantling shut down nuclear power plants and treating and disposing of the radioactive waste will take several more decades. Germany will continue to attach particular importance to nuclear security. Our high level of nuclear security will be maintained and, if necessary, strengthened and enhanced.
As one of the leading countries in research and technology, Germany is also engaged in nuclear research. Worldwide, there are several research reactors and neutron sources which rely on Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) fuels. High performance research reactors play a vital role in scientific research, materials testing and the production of medical radioisotopes. Although high value capabilities cannot be replaced by the tools available at present, a group of Nuclear Security Summit countries (Belgium, France, Germany, the Republic of Korea and the United States) have reaffirmed their shared will to cooperate and ultimately convert their relevant reactors to LEU fuel as soon as this becomes technically and economically feasible. Germany has been actively working together with partners to develop and adapt new high-density LEU fuels and will continue to do so. To give just one example, Germany, France and Belgium, supported by the European Commission and in close cooperation with their US counterparts, continue to cooperate in the HERACLES consortium, focusing on testing and developing a U Mo dispersion fuel. We are also looking into the industrial pathway to ensure that as soon as a technically suitable, economically viable LEU fuel with adequate performance (compared to HEU) is identified and is commercially available, the conversion process for the facilities will be initiated.
At the same time, Germany has worked with the United States since 1996 to return to the US more than 128 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) which is no longer used for research purposes. A significant amount of plutonium and HEU was returned to the US at the beginning of 2016. Germany acknowledges the contributions that have been made by the US Department of Energy, the IAEA and all other international stakeholders to bring this project to such a successful conclusion.
Irrespective of nuclear energy, there is another challenge that requires global attention: the increasing use of radioactive sources for beneficial purposes in medicine, industry, research and education. Many factors influence this development, such as globalization, economic interdependencies and the use of new and increasingly complex technologies. These developments are accompanied by an increasing potential for malicious acts or malevolent use of these sources. Therefore, secure protection of radioactive sources is required. Serious incidents with orphaned sources have demonstrated the danger associated with radioactive sources. Germany fully supports the Joint Statement introduced by France at this summit on strengthening the security of high activity sealed sources. In order to contribute to advancing the discussion on how to further proceed with radioactive sources security, Germany will host an international workshop on the question of whether the Code of Conduct for Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources (CoC) is adequate for its designated purposes. The workshop will take place from 13 to 15 September 2016 in Berlin.
The use of computer-based systems in physical protection systems, nuclear safety systems, and nuclear material accountancy and control systems at nuclear facilities continues to grow and presents an ever more likely target for cyber-attacks. To enhance the computer security measures at the German nuclear facilities, Germany has therefore tightened its regulations by developing and adopting new nuclear security guidance on computer security.
Nevertheless, computer security is a global challenge. Therefore, Germany welcomes the IAEA efforts to enhance computer security at nuclear facilities as evinced by the IAEA International Conference on Computer Security in a Nuclear World in June 2015. Germany actively supports the IAEA in its leading role and in enhancing the Nuclear Security Series by issuing nuclear security guidance on computer security. Moreover, Germany on a bilateral basis intensively exchanges knowledge and experience regarding the German Design Based Threats (DBT) and guidelines on computer security. Germany and other industrialized countries maintain a high level of nuclear security and have a wealth of expertise in this field. It is all the more important to support other countries in their efforts to strengthen nuclear security, enhance the interface between safety and security and improve the security culture in the nuclear field.
It was both a privilege and a pleasure for Germany to hold the 2015 G7 Presidency and thus be the Chair of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction – the G 7’s largest expert group which currently includes 30 active members. At a time when regional conflicts rarely remain confined to a particular region, multilateral dialogue and cross-border cooperation on concrete projects are more vital than ever. Germany hosted three Global Partnership Working Group meetings, which provided an important forum for exchange among experts to improve the way we identify, discuss and respond to biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological threats. The Global Partnership provides an efficient framework for coordinating ongoing projects and putting forward new ideas. Together with our friends and partners in the Global Partnership, we are convinced that we can make a difference if we unite our efforts and work with the necessary resolve.
One of the priority issues during our Chairmanship was the situation in Ukraine with regard to the nuclear security challenges. Nuclear security measures are a very complex matter in peaceful times, but in crisis situations they can become serious challenges. Based on a request by the Ukrainian government for assistance in its efforts to manage a broad range of urgent chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risks, the Global Partnership swiftly decided to assist the Ukrainian authorities in reducing immediate CBRN threats. For example, in 2015/2016 Germany contributed to the implementation of security measures in Ukrainian power plants by providing technical expertise and assistance amounting to more than 5 million euros.
Nuclear security must remain a high priority for all of us after the 2016 Washington Nuclear Security Summit. The 2016 Action Plans aim at giving nuclear security an even stronger profile in the relevant international organizations and initiatives and call for better coordination of their various programs and actions. This constitutes a major cornerstone in our strengthened nuclear security architecture and thus enhances the importance of all three pillars of the Non Proliferation Treaty.
Making progress on nuclear disarmament remains a matter of urgency. Non-proliferation efforts are equally urgent, and are most effective when they involve all actors, including industry. Germany has been actively involved in promoting and implementing UNSCR 1540 since its adoption. Back in 2011 Germany initiated the Wiesbaden Process which seeks to be the interface between government and industry. Listening to the concerns and proposals of industry representatives will help make the implementation of UNSCR 1540 more effective. Today, Germany is proud that the Wiesbaden Conference has become a brand name in non-proliferation efforts.
The comprehensive review of UNSCR 1540 due in 2016 will set the stage for even more effective implementation of the resolution. The fourth Wiesbaden Conference in November 2015 has delivered a strong input in this regard by formulating concrete recommendations on how to further improve cooperation between governments and industry. Germany will introduce this report into the comprehensive review discussion and stands ready to continue the work done in the Wiesbaden process.
It is in our common interest for the Nuclear Security Summit series to lead to sustainable and tangible results which aim at strengthening the international nuclear security architecture - with the IAEA playing a central coordinating role. Summit members have worked out plans as to how they will advocate for further nuclear security action in relevant international organizations and initiatives. Individual member states have agreed on joint action on particular topics like forensics in nuclear security, cyber security of industrial control and plant systems at nuclear facilities, mitigation of insider threats, activities and cooperation to counter illicit trafficking in nuclear and radiological material, security of radioactive sources, nuclear security training, nuclear and radiological terrorism preparedness and response-capabilities. These activities will need to continue for years to come.
Germany is grateful to all Nuclear Security Summit host nations – the United States, the Republic of Korea and the Kingdom of the Netherlands – for their hospitality and their essential contribution towards fostering international cooperation and raising public awareness of a pressing issue.
Germany will remain engaged in nuclear security issues at home and abroad and is looking forward to enhanced cooperation with international partners and organizations on the basis of the achievements of the Nuclear Security Summit.