World leaders agree on ways to curb nuclear terrorism
WORLD leaders yesterday recommitted themselves to the fight against nuclear terrorism in all parts of the globe as President Goodluck Jonathan declared that the Federal Government was winning the campaign against the Boko Haram sect.
The President told the international community at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea, which ended yesterday, that only a section of Nigeria was under the assault of the terror group. He insisted that Nigeria was safe for both local and foreign investors to do business.
The world leaders pledged to demonstrate the political will to ensure atomic safety and set 2014 as the date for bringing the amendment of the Convention for the Physical Prevention of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) into force.
These were part of the decisions reached by presidents and heads of government at the second global summit on nuclear security, which ended in Seoul, South Korea yesterday.
The leaders of the 53 participating nations and multilateral institutions agreed to make voluntary and substantive efforts towards strengthening the current campaign against nuclear terrorism.
As part of its commitment to a nuclear-free world, Italy agreed to eliminate their stocks of fissile materials. The United States (U.S.), France, Belgium and The Netherlands also agreed to produce medical isotopes without using highly enriched uranium by 2015.
Jonathan, who joined other leaders at the summit, praised South Korea for spearheading a global campaign for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, He said the Seoul summit is “significant.”
The President said that “as the country that has technology to use the nuclear power in so many ways, its (South Korea’s) efforts to draw vision for the peaceful use of nuclear energy is good. The summit is quite significant.”
He added that the essence of the summit is to discourage countries not to use nuclear weapons and make sure that countries don’t exploit nuclear energy in terrorist attacks.
The President states that despite the terror attacks by the Boko Haram sect, Nigeria is safe for foreign investments, adding that “we have some parts of country we have terrorist attacks. But it doesn’t affect the whole country. We are in reasonable control.”
The world leaders in a communiqué released at the end of the summit affirmed their readiness to forge ahead with “the political commitments generated from the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit.”
They assured of their willingness to work towards “strengthening nuclear security, reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism and preventing terrorists, criminals or other unauthorised actors from acquiring nuclear materials.”
The summit noted that nuclear terrorism had continued to be one of the most challenging threats to international security, adding that “defeating this threat requires national measures and international co-operation given its potential global political, economic, social and psychological consequences.”
According to them, the agreed measures on strengthening nuclear security would not hamper the rights of states to develop and utilise nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and re-affirmed their “shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful purposes of nuclear energy.”
The document asked each nation to note that in maintaining effective security of all nuclear materials, including nuclear weapons and other facilities under their control, they must “prevent non-state actors from acquiring such materials and from obtaining information or technology required to use them for malicious purposes. We likewise recognise the fundamental responsibility of states to maintain effective security of other radioactive materials.”
Specifically, the summit agreed to translate the political commitments on nuclear security agreed upon at the 2010 Washington Summit into actionable plans, including securing high-risk nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium, enhancing the protection of nuclear facilities, and creating synergy between nuclear security and nuclear safety; preventing the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.
The statement also listed the tightening of loose ends on the management of radioactive materials, which could be used in dirty bombs; encouraging states to join and ratify the International Convention on Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Convention of the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, the two-key nuclear security-related conventions and bolstering the global nuclear security architecture such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, G-8 Global Partnership, and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 1540 Committee and expanding support for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) nuclear security activities.
South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said the summit would be a critical step towards building “a world free of nuclear weapons. I believe that participants of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul will make commitments to reduce their stockpiles of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. This summit, as an extension of the inaugural summit held in Washington in 2010, will be an opportunity to make significant progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons and to foster the collective will of the international community.”
Amid these new plans, North Korea yesterday announced its resolve to go ahead with the launch of its long-range rocket next month. This decision, coming as the leaders were rounding up their deliberations, is seen as overshadowing the plumes of the summit.
North Korea, which called it a “peaceful satellite launch,” said “every nation has this right,” and called on the main actor — the U.S. and President Barack Obama — to drop his “confrontational mindset.”
Russia agreed to find ways to convert its excess military HEU to LEU fuel for use in nuclear power plants; recover its HEU from other countries, which it provided the HEU; and assess the economic and technical feasibility of converting research reactors from using HEU fuel to LUE fuel jointly with the U.S.
Australia pledged to repatriate surplus stocks of HEU in 2013; invite the IAEA’s International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) in 2013, and develop technologies to improve nuclear detection and forensic capabilities.
Brazil committed itself to ratify the 2005 CPPNM, revise domestic regulations on nuclear and radiological security and establish a Nuclear Security Support Centre.
Similarly, Canada said it was already repatriating U.S.-origin spent HEU to the U.S., identifying an alternate method to replacing HEU in the production of medical radioisotopes; and supporting U.S.-led HEU clean-out projects in Mexico and Vietnam.
Other countries, which made commitment to the crusade, included Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and Vietnam.