World leaders agree on measures to monitor nuclear materials

The Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea rounded off Tuesday with world leaders reaching a consensus to adopt more proactive auditing and accounting procedures in securing vulnerable nuclear materials from getting into wrong hands, thereby constituting global threat.

The leaders called for more monitoring, apprehension and prosecution of breaches of conventions by individuals and corporate organisations or non-state actors as a means of effectively countering the threat of nuclear terrorism and making the world safer for all.

The summit acknowledged that nuclear terrorism continues to be one of the most challenging threats to international security and called for the renewal of the commitments of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit which aims at strengthening nuclear security.

Some of the measures being proposed by the leaders according to a communiqué released shortly after the summit ended, include, protecting information and technology and its application on nuclear materials and how to use them for malicious purposes while also maintaining effective security for any radioactive materials.

Leaders at the summit stated that the measures adopted were not aimed at limiting the rights of States to develop and utilise nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In that regard, participants called on all countries of the world to extend their cooperation and support to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its efforts to ensure that States fulfill their nuclear security responsibilities in addition to regional and international cooperation to promote such cooperation.

Some specific decisions which the Summit, tagged “Global Nuclear Security Architecture”, took include recognizing and ratifying the Conventions on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) with its amendments and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT).

Others are respect of international initiatives and processes like the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear terrorism (GICNT) and Global Partnership against Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

“We reaffirm the essential responsibility and central role of the IAEA in strengthening the International nuclear security framework, and recognize the value of the IAEA nuclear security plan 2010-2013. We will work to ensure that the IAEA continues to have appropriate structure, resources and expertise needed to support the implementation of nuclear security objectives,” the communiqué said.

Adding further, the leaders said “we encourage States in a position to do so and the nuclear industry to increase voluntary contributions to IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund, as well as in-kind contributions”.

On nuclear materials, the summit towed the line of reasoning of President Goodluck Jonathan who had told the gathering that for the purposes of peaceful use of nuclear technology, Nigeria was working towards converting the reactors she acquired from the Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) type to Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) and called on other countries to adopt the procedure as well as remove nuclear materials from facilities no longer using them to avoid their falling into wrong hands.

“We encourage States to take measures to minimize the use of HEU, including through the conversion of reactors from highly enriched to low enriched uranium fuel, where technically and economically feasible, taking into account the need for assured supplies of medical isotopes, and encourage states in a position to do so by the end of 2013, to announce voluntary specific actions intended to minimize the use of HEU,” they said.

“We also encourage States to promote the use of LEU fuels and targets in commercial applications such as isotope production, and in this regard, welcome relevant international cooperation on high-density LEU fuel to support the conversion of research and test reactors”.


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