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Nuclear Security Conference Opens

GTRI Conference

The panel of speakers at the opening of the GTRI Partner Conference 18 September in Vienna, Austria. (Photo Credit: Dean Calma/IAEA)

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Key partners of a global nuclear security initiative are meeting 18-19 September 2004, at The Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) International Partners Conference at the Austria Centre in Vienna.

In a statement to the conference, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said the need to protect nuclear material and facilities, and to control radioactive sources, had become an ever more global priority.

"We have had some significant successes already, and I hope we can build on those and forge ahead in a way that serves the interests of all States - by ensuring the continued availability of peaceful nuclear technologies, in recognition of the benefits they provide in many areas of sustainable development, but at the same time by ensuring that these nuclear activities are conducted in a secure and safe manner." GTRI will supplement and augment these efforts, Dr. ElBaradei said.

The conference is co-sponsored by the US Government and the Russian Federation. It aims to generate international support for national programs to secure high-risk nuclear and other radioactive material that pose a threat to the international community.

"International cooperation has become the hallmark of these security efforts. While nuclear security is and should remain a national responsibility, many countries still lack the programmes and the resources to respond properly to the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism," Dr. ElBaradei´s statement said. "If GTRI and related initiatives are successful, we will achieve a meaningful reduction in our vulnerability to nuclear and radiological terrorism."

The purpose of the GTRI is to:

  • Where possible, eliminate the use of highly enriched uranium in civil research reactors by converting them to low enriched uranium and securing, returning or recovering vulnerable nuclear material; and
  • Secure and/or remove at-risk or orphaned radioactive sources.

The GTRI was announced by US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham in May 2004. It builds on existing and long-standing threat reduction efforts of the US, the Russian Federation, and the IAEA. Such programs 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.

More information about the GTRI Conference is on the IAEA Meetings pages or from the US Department of Energy, Office of Global Threat Reduction, in Washington, DC.