World leaders can further strengthen the international nuclear security regime by taking certain concrete steps, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in his address to the Nuclear Security Summit taking place from 24 to 25 March 2014 in the Hague, the Netherlands. Entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials should be a priority. He also called on States to make full use of the services offered by the IAEA in the field of nuclear security. He underlined that the IAEA would remain at the centre of international cooperation in this field.
The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is a forum which brings 53 participating States, and 4 international organisations, as observers, to draw attention and discuss at the highest levels the need to secure nuclear material and prevent nuclear terrorism. The Hague Summit is the third to be held since 2010 when the first summit was hosted in Washington D.C., by US President Barack Obama. The Hague NSS focused on future steps to be taken to reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world, improving the security of all nuclear material and radioactive sources, as well as enhancing international cooperation.
"Bringing into force the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials would protect nuclear material in domestic use, transport and storage, and protect nuclear facilities against acts of terrorism," Director General told the gathering of world leaders.
"None of these are covered by the original Convention," Director General Amano said.
As a second measure, the IAEA Director General also called on world leaders to "make full use of the services offered by the IAEA."
"In the past four years, we trained more than 7 000 people from over 120 countries in nuclear security. We helped to secure the safe return of 950 kg of high enriched uranium to countries of origin. And we supplied more than 1 000 radiation detection instruments for use throughout the world."
The Director General pointed to the fact that IAEA peer reviews and advisory services have helped to improve security in many countries, while building confidence both nationally and internationally that facilities and material are properly protected. "I encourage all countries to invite the IAEA to organize expert peer reviews of their nuclear security arrangements."
Director General Amano emphasized the Agency's continued role as the centre of international efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, and is well-poised to help countries use limited resources in the most cost-effective manner. As examples, he highlighted IAEA activities to help make borders more secure by installing radiation monitors in Malaysia; to help improve physical security at hospitals in Ghana so radioactive sources are not stolen; and to help police seize high enriched uranium from would-be smugglers in Moldova.
"I count on your continued support for the IAEA nuclear security programme," Director General Amano concluded. "And I ask you to maintain constant vigilance so that nuclear and other radioactive materials, which benefit humanity in so many ways, are never used intentionally to inflict harm."
Looking to the future, the Director General pointed to the successful Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Security, which the IAEA organised in 2013, with the participation of 125 countries. The Conference pulled together both political and expert discussions to enhance global understanding of all aspects of the challenges we all face. This was one of the largest Conferences ever held by the Agency. At that Conference, Ministers adopted a Declaration with a firm commitment to strengthen nuclear security, putting into place a functioning global nuclear security framework.
"We are building on the momentum of that event," Director General Amano said and further reiterated that "our Member States have agreed that the next such conference will take place in three years' time."