Since the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, participating States have reported a number of substantial actions and achievements that – individually and collectively – have strengthened nuclear security implementation at the national, regional, and international levels and built up the global nuclear security architecture.
Taken together, several common themes emerge. Over 40 Summit countries have engaged in capacity building, whether through training, Centers of Excellence, or exercises. Over 30 countries have updated national laws, regulations, or structures relating to nuclear security. Over 20 countries have held or invited peer review missions, either bilaterally or through the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) International Physical Protection Advisory Service. Three more countries – China, India, and Jordan – have pledged to strengthen nuclear security implementation through subscribing to the 2014 Joint Statement on Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation (INFCIRC 869), bringing the total number to 38. Eighteen countries have taken steps to increase the security of radioactive sources. Seventeen countries have been involved in removal or disposal of nuclear materials, or minimization of highly enriched uranium (HEU). Sixteen countries have ratified nuclear security treaties or taken particular steps to implement them. Fifteen countries have carried out physical security upgrades or acquired security or detection equipment. A dozen countries have joined or launched new international or regional structures to support nuclear security cooperation. Twelve countries have indicated their financial contributions to support bilateral or international cooperation in nuclear security. And 10 countries noted steps taken to support or implement United National Security Council Resolution 1540. These represent tangible, practical steps towards locking down nuclear and other radioactive material and building up the global nuclear security architecture.
Of all the threats to global security and peace, the most dangerous is the proliferation and potential use of nuclear weapons. That’s why, seven years ago in Prague, I committed the United States to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and to seeking a world without them. This vision builds on the policies of presidents before me, Democrat and Republican, including Ronald Reagan, who said “we seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”
We have all read dramatic headlines or watched television dramas about terrorists attempting to acquire nuclear or radiological material for a weapon. While this may seem like Hollywood make-believe, we should be under no illusions about the real–life challenges we face. Given the destruction terrorists could unleash with a dirty bomb, nuclear terrorism is a threat to our collective security.
By Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins: In a landmark speech in Prague in April 2009, President Obama declared that “…we must ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon. This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with one nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction.” To help address this threat, President Obama proposed to host a Summit on nuclear security.
Today, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Korea Cho Tae-yul announced the launch of the High Level Bilateral Commission (HLBC). In their roles as HLBC Co-Chairs, Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall and Vice Minister Cho also announced that the first meeting of the HLBC will take place in Seoul on April 14. Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall will travel to Seoul to Co-Chair the HLBC as part of a trip focused on nuclear security, safety, nonproliferation, and clean energy.
I am very pleased that the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation is hosting this event on the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
This is the most important area of unfinished business in nuclear security. The Amendment was adopted more than 10 years ago, but it has still not entered into force because not enough countries have adhered to it.
Thank you, Steve. I am so pleased to be here today. Thanks also to the Congressional Nuclear Security Working Group Co-Chairs Jeff Fortenberry and Pete Visclosky for hosting us here on the Hill and to Janne Nolan and Brian Finlay for their work in setting this up. I am glad to see so many people here interested in what we can do to reduce the nuclear threat.
Nuclear security is not always in the headlines, but nuclear terrorism is the greatest threat to our collective security. As you all know, terrorist networks have expressed their desire to use weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist would be a catastrophe for global peace and stability.
Two years ago, in Berlin, the President formally announced his plan to host a fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit in 2016. The Summit will be held March 31-April 1, 2016, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
As the President stated in his speech in Prague in 2009, nuclear terrorism is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. He announced an international effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials, break up black markets, and detect and intercept illicitly trafficked materials. The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, D.C. in 2010, and was followed by additional Summits in Seoul in 2012, and The Hague in 2014. These Summits achieved tangible improvements in the security of nuclear materials and stronger international institutions that support nuclear security.