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ICONS 2020 – U.S. National Statement
February 10, 2020

United States Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette delivers remarks at the third International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS 2020) at the Vienna International Center, February 10, 2020. (USUNVIE/Colin Peters)
United States Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette delivers remarks at ICONS 2020.


As delivered by Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette
at the 2020 IAEA Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS)
Vienna, Austria

Director General Grossi,

Speaking on behalf of President Trump and the American people, I offer you our full support as you continue to maintain and enhance a strong, robust and independent Agency that provides technically sound leadership in all areas related to its mandate to facilitate the peaceful uses of the atom.

And let me add that I am indeed honored that the United States has been selected to host the 2021 Nuclear Power Ministerial. I thank the IAEA for the opportunity to lead this important international dialogue. We look forward to bringing together IAEA membership in Washington, DC, for this important high-level meeting.

2021 will be a particularly exciting time for nuclear energy with small modular and micro reactors beginning to come to market. We see these easy to finance systems as game changers for those countries that are aggressively pursuing clean energy targets and economic growth in tandem.

When it comes to nuclear power and technology, we are confronted by an enormous paradox.

On the one hand, we see exciting opportunities – but on the other hand, we face challenges.

From science and medicine to energy, we continue to harness the atom in incredible ways for the good of humanity.

And yet our greatest advances often come with the gravest of dangers, including the risk of nuclear terrorism.

That’s why nuclear security must remain a fundamental imperative.

It’s why we must do our utmost to prevent, detect, and respond to malicious acts and threats involving nuclear and other radioactive material.

As part of our efforts, we must empower the IAEA as the central coordinator for international nuclear security activities.

We must continue providing the IAEA with the neccessary resources it needs to accomplish the various activities within its nuclear security mandate.

We must universalize relevant nuclear and radiological security instruments, including the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

We must further our global efforts to protect, and wherever possible eliminate, weapons-usable nuclear material.

And we must sustain and strengthen national commitments to nuclear security – precisely what brought us here today.

Indeed, each and every nation is here to share recent accomplishments, new commitments, and best practices so that together, we can reduce global risk.

I am proud to report that since the 2016 IAEA Conference on Nuclear Security, the United States has done the following:

• We have voluntarily provided over $51 million to the IAEA and its Nuclear Security Fund, as well as additional in-kind support.

• We have conducted more than 50 bilateral, regional, and international workshops to improve nuclear security in key areas.

• We have worked with partners across the globe to improve protection at 10 facilities with nuclear materials and 159 buildings with radioactive materials.

• We have removed or confirmed the disposition of over 1,000 kg of nuclear material, including material from two countries that are now HEU-free.

• We have down-blended nearly 13 metric tons of surplus United States HEU — enough material for more than 516 nuclear weapons.

• We have replaced 138 high-activity sources with non-radioisotopic alternatives, and we’ve published information on best practices for such replacements.

• We have partnered with more than 75 countries to develop and sustain capabilities to counter nuclear smuggling.

• We have equipped 672 border crossing points worldwide with radiation detection systems, and we’ve deployed 177 mobile or man-portable systems to detect and identify smuggling.

• We have conducted approximately 1,500 nuclear and radiological security workshops, counterterrorism tabletop exercises, and courses for law enforcement and first responders involved in nuclear detection.

• And just last week, we made a political commitment to meet the intent of the Supplemental Guidance to the Code of Conduct on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources.

Now let’s be clear.

As we confront nuclear dangers, improving nuclear security is critical, but insufficient.

We must also promote and maintain the highest standards of nonproliferation, safety, and safeguards.

In this regard, and mindful of the global role the IAEA plays across all these essential areas, we call on Iran to cooperate fully with IAEA in monitoring and inspecting Iran’s facilities, and in addressing all of the Agency’s questions related to the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declaration.

It is imperative that Iran provide full and timely cooperation to explain the presence of uranium particles at an undeclared location.

As the IAEA has reported, “time is of the essence,” and I hope all can agree that Iran must know that the international community is fully supportive of the IAEA as it implements its technical mandate.

Global commitment must also extend to pressing North Korea to meet its commitment at the Singapore summit to work towards complete denuclearization.

And finally, we must not only ensure that no countries use the atom to do us harm; we must recommit ourselves to using the benefits of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to help save lives and usher in a safer, healthier, more secure, and more prosperous world for all. Effective safeguards, safety and security measures are what make that possible.

May we never lose sight of this magnificent goal; may it always be our ultimate aim.

Thank you.