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Nuclear Security Summit Reaffirms IAEA Programmes/Key Role

Seoul Communique Addresses Major Areas of Agency's Work

2012 Nuclear Security Summit Leaders Group Photo. Seoul, Korea, 27 March 2012 (Photo Credit: D. Calma/IAEA)

World leaders attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea have issued a joint communiqué renewing their commitment to work towards strengthening nuclear security, reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism and preventing unauthorized acquisition of nuclear materials. The Seoul Communiqué, issued at the closing session of the summit on 27 March 2012, particularly noted the essential role of the IAEA in facilitating international cooperation and supporting the efforts of countries to fulfill their nuclear security responsibilities.

The communiqué also noted the relationship between nuclear security and nuclear safety, as demonstrated by the Fukushima accident in March 2011, and called for sustained efforts to globally address these tandem issues in a coherent manner that would help ensure the safe and secure peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

In particular, the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit communiqué recognized and expressed support for a number of IAEA programmes and initiatives. Among them are the following:

Global Nuclear Security Architecture. The communiqué recognized the importance of multilateral instruments that address nuclear security, such as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), as amended. It urged states to accelerate approval of the amendments to the CPPNM, so as to bring it into force by 2014. The communiqué also commits the parties "to strive to use intends to use the IAEA Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities (INFCIRC/225/Rev.5) document and related Nuclear Security Series documents, and reflect them into national practice."

Role of the IAEA. The Seoul communique reaffirms "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." It encourages States and the nuclear industry to increase voluntary contributions to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund, and encourage continued IAEA activities to assist national efforts to establish and enhance nuclear security infrastructure through its various support programmes.

Radioactive Sources. To this end, the communiqué "encourage States to continue to work towards reflecting into national practices the relevant IAEA Nuclear Security Series documents, the IAEA. Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its supplementary document on the IAEA Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources." It also commits "to work closely with the IAEA to encourage cooperation on advanced technologies and systems, share best practices on the management of radioactive sources, and provide technical assistance to States upon their request."

Nuclear Security and Safety. The communiqué affirm that nuclear security and nuclear safety measures should be designed, implemented and managed in nuclear facilities in a coherent and synergistic manner. To this end, it welcome the efforts of the IAEA to organize meetings to provide relevant recommendations on the interface between nuclear security and nuclear safety so that neither security nor safety is compromised.

Combatting Illicit Trafficking. The communiqué encourage action-oriented coordination among national capacities to combat illicit trafficking, consistent with national laws and regulations. It also "encourage States to participate in the IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database program and to provide necessary information relating to nuclear and other radioactive materials outside of regulatory control."

Other areas of the Agency's work mentioned in the communiqué included its initiatives in promoting a global nuclear security culture, as well as Agency initiatives in information security and in enhancing international cooperation among States.

The full text of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit Communiqué is available at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit web site.

Last update: 27 July 2017