Securing Nuclear & Radiological Material

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GTRI Moves Ahead

Spencer Abraham, former US Secretary of Energy, reviews the global initiative.

Spencer Abraham

Former US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Alexander Rumyantsev Minister of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation, at a press conference during the GTRI meeting. (Austria Center, Vienna, Austria, September 19, 2004).

This past September, key partners of a global initiative to upgrade nuclear security met at an international conference in Vienna. Called "The Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) International Partners Conference," the meeting launched a US-led initiative to remove and/or secure high-risk nuclear and radiological materials and equipment around the world that posed a threat to the global community. The initiative targets vulnerable nuclear and other radioactive material worldwide, building upon existing and long-standing threat reduction efforts.

The USA, the Russian Federation, and the IAEA are working together on several major programmes that are important components of the GTRI. They include the Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return Programme, the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors Programme, and the Tripartite Initiative to secure high-risk radioactive sources.

Nuclear nonproliferation work will become much more important as we move into the 21st century. Our collective role in preventing the spread of dangerous nuclear materials, providing physical security over these materials, verifying the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, advancing science, and monitoring technology transfer - each of these functions will become more central to international security in the days and years ahead.

The United States of America is more firmly committed than ever to these ideals. We have taken significant steps to demonstrate the seriousness of our commitment, actions which have intensified and accelerated vital nonproliferation efforts.

These efforts have been highly successful. They have made the world safer. Every instance in which we have worked to secure and remove dangerous materials has meant less opportunity for terrorists to acquire them. But as successful as such efforts have been, over the last several years it became apparent to us that we could - that we must - do even more.

Given the constantly evolving threat environment . given the resolve of terrorists constantly thinking up new ways to do the unthinkable . given the need to focus not just on rogue nations but on shadowy, stateless networks . it is clear that we must find ways to further improve, further enhance, and further accelerate our non-proliferation work.

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