Summit notes progress on nuke security

March 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM
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SEOUL, March 27 (UPI) -- World leaders meeting in Seoul recommitted to building a world safe from nuclear terrorism and pledged to reduce weapons-grade material.

The two-day Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul of leaders and representatives from 53 countries and four world organizations concluded Tuesday with a joint declaration, the "Seoul Communique."

"We recognize 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," the Seoul Communique said as a reaffirmation of the leaders' commitment to the security of nuclear information.

The communique calls on all participants to strengthen nuclear information security.

Among other things, the statement called for minimizing the use of highly enriched uranium capable of being used in weapons by the end of next year and said 2014 was a target date for putting into effect an amendment to the Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported.

The Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials is an international agreement that stipulates physical protection of nuclear materials while it is transported, provides a framework for cooperation in the protection, recovery, and return of stolen nuclear material, and outlines serious nuclear material-related crimes.

The 24 member countries of the Partners of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction issued a statement supporting the summit's goal of securing vulnerable nuclear material and radioactive sources around the world.

Also, the governments of the United States, Britain and France issued a statement saying each country understands the threat of nuclear terrorism and "share the collective responsibility to inform and strengthen international measures designed to secure sensitive information, technology or nuclear material from access by terrorists, and to develop emergency response measures."

The three countries pledged to "actively engage in international workshops" concerning nuclear security protection levels that are dependent upon how attractive nuclear materials is to "potential terrorist adversaries with intent to assemble a nuclear explosive device."

To help combat the threat of nuclear terrorism, the three countries said they would "engage with the international community to further strengthen worldwide preparedness to contend with the threat of nuclear terrorism" when possible.

Nations participating in the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul also agreed to improve transport security of nuclear and radioactive material in another statement issued Tuesday.

The Joint Statement on Transport Security encouraged participating countries to share best practices and cooperate in acquiring the proper technologies.

"Recognizing 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," the statement said.

In addition, France, South Korea, Britain, the United States and Japan agreed to take on further commitment to transport security, which includes conducting meetings to address transport security issues by next year.

The five participating countries also may consider organizing training exercises, including table-top exercises, for "strengthened emergency preparedness," the statement said. A proposal based on exercises will be submitted during the third Nuclear Security Summit.

A third nuclear security summit will be in the Netherlands in 2014.

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