In 1953, then U.S. President Eisenhower, in his famous “Atoms for Peace” speech called for “fissionable material [to] be allocated to serve the peaceful pursuits of mankind.” Since then, the United States has been a leader in international civil nuclear cooperation and in facilitating access to nuclear technologies to those who need it most. On the sidelines of the Preparatory Committee of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, yesterday, the U.S. delegation held a special side event outlining those efforts.
The United States is the largest single contributor to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) efforts to research and deliver nuclear technologies that improve the lives of people around the world – rapid diagnosis of Ebola, eradication of insect pests that decimate livestock herds and spread human diseases like Zika, the safe use of carbon-free nuclear energy, life-saving cancer treatments, better agricultural yields – the list goes on and on.
Yet these technologies do not come without risk – the risk of accident, of criminal or terrorist attack, or diversion of nuclear materials to a weapons program, for example. Working to minimize those risks makes the benefits of nuclear energy possible. The United States works with partner countries around the world to put in place effective measures for nuclear safety and security in order to enable the fullest possible access to nuclear technology.
We do this through a wide variety of bilateral capacity programs, such as in-country trainings, technical exchanges, and peer reviews. We help train IAEA inspectors and validate their tools, technologies, and methods. We hold thematic trainings on topics like insider threats and cybersecurity. Because no one does it alone.
As Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna Andrew J. Schofer said in his statement today, “The world is indeed realizing the peaceful promise of the atom. This is the result of robust efforts to ensure that nuclear energy is used safely, securely, and under sound nonproliferation conditions that ensure it is not diverted for weapons use… States that uphold their nonproliferation commitments should know that they have a strong partner in the United States toward that end.”