Nuclear Security – Measures to Protect Against Nuclear Terrorism
September 7-11, 2009
Agenda Item 4
Ambassador Glyn Davies
Permanent Representative of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Office in Vienna
It is with great pleasure that I join you here today to highlight matters before you that call for our continued vigilance and support.
Early this year in Prague, in his first foreign policy address delivered abroad, President Obama asserted that despite the end of the Cold War, the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. Thousands of weapons built during that time remain, nuclear testing continues, black market trading abounds, and the technology to build a bomb has spread.
As President Obama recognizes, these menacing circumstances call for a new spirit of international cooperation. I listened carefully to my colleague from the G-77 and it is clear that we have a difference of views on this point. I would like to deepen our mutual dialogue on nuclear security issues to narrow those differences, and will seek such an early opportunity to do so.
As a premier international organization tasked with contributing to international peace and security, the IAEA is key to our collective efforts. It has made important footholds of progress with respect to this fundamental role. It must now stretch from footholds into measurable strides.
The Board of Governors has two documents before it today – the Nuclear Security Report 2009 and the Nuclear Security Plan 2010-2013. Together with the Implementation of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan 2006-2009: Progress Report, these documents provide an assessment of the most pressing international security issues, and provide a blueprint for IAEA and Member State activities to address these issues. We welcome and take note of these reports.
Above all, these three reports demonstrate that while the Office of Nuclear Security is a relatively small element of the Secretariat, it has accomplished a great deal. The Office has made a positive impact and has increased the global nuclear security framework with tangible products and internationally-accepted guidance. We look forward to continuing our work with this office to help the program mature, improve its products, promote transparency and prioritize for the future.
The U.S. is mindful of issues concerning confidentiality of information. However, we encourage all Member States to share their nuclear security experience and expertise with others. Only through the development of a transparent and cooperative culture can the global nuclear security framework be strengthened.
I would like now to turn to the broader issue of international cooperation; a primary theme when we look to the future of Nuclear Security. A number of instruments of cooperation available to us support the IAEA’s work and ensure the steady enhancement of global security over the years. Primary among them is the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its 2005 Amendment. Another is the fifth revision of the IAEA recommendations document on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities. My delegation asks that all Member States join the CPPNM and adopt its amendment. We also ask that you join us in working to finalize the fifth revision of INFCIRC/225 as a high priority by early 2010. Finally, we urge Member States to participate fully in the IAEA’s Illicit Trafficking Database, thereby contributing to the timely release of information on potential criminal and terrorist activities.
Continuing on this theme of cooperation, the United States encourages Member States to join the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, or GICNT. Half of IAEA Member States have become partners of GICNT; we hope to see the other half move rapidly to join this growing consensus. The Global Threat Reduction Initiative is another important instrument of cooperation that has provided expertise and resources to implement security upgrades at approximately 600 vulnerable buildings with high priority nuclear and radiological material in 60 countries around the world. We believe that some of these countries may now be considered good candidates for entering into long-term sustainability efforts, and we are working with the IAEA’s Office of Nuclear Security to implement a coordinated approach to long-term sustainability.
Also, the 1540 Committee’s report of July 2008 specifically calls on the IAEA to assist States to fully meet the provisions of UNSC resolution 1540 and the subsequent resolutions. The United States urges the Secretariat to provide assistance to Member States in fulfilling their commitments, and we are prepared to help the Agency fulfill this role.
Perhaps one of the best examples of cooperation is the work being performed to clean up the spent fuel stored at the Vinc
a Institute of Nuclear Sciences. Serbia, Russia, the Czech Republic and the U.S. have contributed over $22 million dollars to this effort, constituting one of the largest projects the IAEA has ever undertaken.
Vinca is a reminder that cooperation sometimes comes down to resources. We therefore welcome the allocation of €3.1million in regular budget funding to the Office of Nuclear Security in 2010. We also recognize that regularized funding cannot make up for voluntary contributions, and we ask that Member States join the U.S. in contributing generously to the Nuclear Security Fund.
Madame Chairwoman, I would like to end with one final appeal for cooperation. Many of you are familiar with President Obama’s goal of securing vulnerable nuclear material within four years. This is an ambitious goal, but the President recognizes the importance of the cooperative efforts I outlined earlier and views international organizations like this one as key to the effort. I am therefore pleased to announce that the IAEA Director General has been invited to the Summit on Nuclear Security that President Obama will host in March in Washington, D.C. This Summit is not intended to launch new initiatives or establish new coalitions. Just the opposite – the U.S. hopes to enhance the profile of existing mechanisms and ensure their effectiveness.
Nuclear security is not about politics – it is about protecting each other from a threat that knows no boundaries. I invite all IAEA Member States to embrace a spirit of cooperation and look to the concrete steps each state can take to ensure our mutual security. Whether joining GICNT, ratifying the CPPNM Amendment, or contributing to the Nuclear Security Fund, there is plenty of work for each of us to do.
Thank you, Madame Chairwoman.