Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Nuclear Security

U.S. Statement as delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Laura Kennedy

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

The U.S. welcomes the publication of the IAEA Nuclear Security Report 2014.  We are pleased to see the progress achieved in strengthening the international nuclear security framework.  The continued improvement of individual State nuclear security systems strengthens our collective ability to prevent, detect, and respond to potential acts of nuclear terrorism.  We hope the Secretariat will continue to take actions to ensure that the importance of nuclear security is appropriately reflected.

Acting on President Obama’s initiative, the U.S. and other countries raised global nuclear security awareness to the highest level through the Nuclear Security Summits, most recently in The Hague this year.  We look forward to building on the achievements and commitments from these summits in the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in the U.S.  The Summits have reaffirmed the essential role of the IAEA in global nuclear security, and reinforced the principle that States are responsible for maintaining, at all times, effective security of all nuclear and other radiological materials, including nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control, and for participating in collective efforts to strengthen security globally.

We are pleased that these sentiments were echoed in the Ministerial Declaration from the July 2013 IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security.  The U.S. supports the level and scope of this IAEA conference, and plans to fully support the next Conference in late 2016.

At the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, the U.S. and 34 other Member States signed a Joint Statement on Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation, making a public commitment to the fundamental principles of nuclear security, to meet the intent of the recommendations contained in the IAEA Nuclear Security Series, and to realize or exceed those objectives through the implementation and enhancement of national regulations and other government measures.  We believe this collective commitment can serve as a model worldwide of excellent and transparent behavior.  In addition, the Joint Statement provides a menu of actions for Member States wishing to contribute to the continuous improvement of nuclear security.  For its part, the U.S. is acting on the majority of items on this list.

In support of Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation, as called for by the Joint Statement, the U.S.  provides support to many IAEA activities, including through our regular voluntary contributions to the Nuclear Security Fund, which supports the implementation of the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Plan 2014-2017.  We urge other countries to continue their support to this Fund and for those Member States who have not yet contributed to do so.

The U.S. also continues to provide nuclear security experts to support International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) and other important IAEA advisory services.  In October 2013, the U.S. hosted its first IPPAS mission, and we encourage other Member States to take advantage of this service.  We welcome efforts to share lessons learned and make enhancements to IPPAS.

The U.S. also continues to support the Agency’s training programs.  For example, the U.S. is participating actively in the International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centers and supports Agency activities to advance global nuclear security education through the development of a nuclear security academic curriculum.  We encourage Member States with support centers or those that may be contemplating the establishment of a center to participate and take advantage of this collaboration.  We also encourage the analysis of outcomes to better understand how project goals and accomplishments are met and to continue to build on past successes.

The U.S. continues to support the essential work of the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC) as it approaches the end of its first term, and  we applaud its continued work to prioritize future publications in the Nuclear Security Series.  The NSGC is open to all Member States, and we encourage more States to participate.  We also strongly encourage the IAEA to continue to focus on the development of needed “top-level” documents, and further applaud the NSGC’s efforts to fulfill the Agency’s goal of managing the safety-security interface so that neither side adversely affects the other.

We also commend the efforts of the Division of Nuclear Security to strengthen implementation of Member States’ Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plans (INSSP). We encourage more Member States to take advantage of the opportunity to develop an INSSP, and we look forward to working with the Agency and Member States to explore ways the Agency could track progress on INSSP actions and better match contributions with identified needs, while respecting the confidentiality requirements.

The U.S. commends the IAEA for hosting regular information exchange meetings among international nuclear security initiatives.  We are encouraged by the productive coordination among the various complementary activities, such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the Global Partnership, Interpol, and others.

We applaud the IAEA’s increasing focus on computer security at nuclear facilities, and its work to organize the June 2015 International Conference on Computer Security in a Nuclear World.

We congratulate the IAEA on the success of the July 2014 International Conference on Nuclear Forensics, which was the largest multilateral nuclear forensics conference to date and helped raise awareness about the range of scientific techniques that can be applied to strengthen international cooperation to recover nuclear and other radioactive material outside regulatory control.

The U.S. welcomes the efforts of the IAEA to develop practical guidance documents on the self-assessment and enhancement of nuclear security culture.  We have been pleased to partner with the Agency and other Member States to pilot this methodology, and we look forward to its future utilization.

The U.S. does remain concerned that the continued occurrence of nuclear and radioactive materials trafficking activities suggest that these materials remain in illicit circulation.  The IAEA Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB) facilitates regional and international cooperation by ensuring timely information-sharing on incidents involving nuclear and radioactive materials outside of regulatory control.  The U.S. supports efforts to increase the number of States participating in the ITDB, and we encourage all States to share urgent and relevant information on nuclear security in a timely manner.  We also support the IAEA’s production of quarterly and annual reports of ITDB information, which are a valuable resource to participating governments.

We look forward to exploring further ways to strengthen the IAEA Nuclear Security Program.

After that long intervention, for which I apologize, – but it is an important topic – we are pleased to join consensus in taking note of the Nuclear Security Report 2014.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.