Ambassador Bonnie D. Jenkins
Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs
Washington, DC
November 29, 2010

Good morning. It is a pleasure for me to be here today to speak with you about the importance of nuclear security and the multi-dimensional approach to the international efforts of securing all vulnerable nuclear material worldwide. I want to thank Erin Harbaugh and everyone who put this together.

The importance of nuclear security can best be viewed in the context of the risks posed by nuclear terrorism. Currently over 2000 tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium exist in dozens of countries who possess this material for a variety of peaceful as well as military uses. There have been 18 documented cases of theft or loss of highly enriched uranium or plutonium, and perhaps others not yet discovered. We know terrorists and criminal groups are seeking nuclear weapons –as well as the materials and expertise needed to make them.

As President Obama clearly stated in his Prague speech in 2009, “We must ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon. This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with one nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction”.

The consequences of a nuclear detonation perpetrated by a terrorist or criminal group anywhere in the world would be devastating. Any country could be a target, and all countries would feel the effects. To address this global risk, President Obama announced an international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world within four years.

During the June 2009 G-8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, President Obama announced that he would host a Nuclear Security Summit in 2010 in Washington DC. Just as the United States is not the only country that would suffer from nuclear terrorism, we cannot prevent it on our own. The Summit focused specifically on nuclear security, leaving other broad topics such as nonproliferation, disarmament, and peaceful applications of nuclear energy to different forums, such as the May 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference. The goal of the Nuclear Security Summit was to come to a common understanding of the threat posed by nuclear terrorism and to gain agreement among the participants that nuclear material, whether in civilian or military use, should not be vulnerable to that threat.

The Nuclear Security Summit brought together the leaders of 47 nations and three international organizations to advance a common approach and commitment to nuclear security at the highest levels. The leaders in attendance renewed their commitments to ensure that nuclear materials under their sovereign control are not stolen or diverted for use by terrorists, pledged to continue to evaluate the threat and improve the security as changing conditions may require, and to exchange best practices and practical solutions for doing so. The Summit reinforced the principle that all states are responsible for ensuring the best security of their materials, for seeking assistance if necessary, and providing assistance if asked.

Importantly the leaders achieved crucial consensus on three key areas: that the danger of nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats to our collective security; that terrorist networks such as al Qaeda have tried to acquire the material for a nuclear weapon, and if they ever succeeded, they would surely use it; and were they to do so, it would be a catastrophe for the world – causing extraordinary loss of life, and striking a major blow to global peace and stability.

The Summit produced three major outcomes; the Summit Communiqué – a high- level political statement by the leaders of all 47 participating countries to strengthen nuclear security and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism; the Summit Work Plan – providing guidance for national and international actions to carry out the pledges of the Communiqué; and country commitments by many Summit Participants to support the objectives of the Summit. Some of those commitments included joining existing initiatives, such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the ratification of relevant treaties, and adherence to existing international legal obligations, such as UNSCR 1540. In addition, on the margins of the April 2010 Summit, there were bilateral meetings furthering U.S. efforts to improve international nuclear security.

In the Communique, participating states, among other things, agreed to:

  • Endorse President Obama’s call to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years, and pledge to work together towards this end;
  • Call for focused national efforts to improve security and accounting of nuclear materials and strengthen regulations – with a special focus on plutonium and highly enriched uranium;
  • Seek consolidation of stocks of highly enriched uranium and plutonium and reduction in the use of highly enriched uranium;
  • Promote universality of key international treaties on nuclear security and nuclear terrorism; and
  • Call for the International Atomic Energy Agency to receive the resources it needs to develop nuclear security guidelines and provide advice to its members on how to implement them; and

The Work Plan, which serves as guidance for international action, including through cooperation within the context of relevant international fora and organizations, calls for specific steps that include:

  • Cooperating through the United Nations to implement and assist others in connection with Security Council resolutions;
  • Working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to update and implement security guidance and carry out advisory services;
  • Reviewing national regulatory and legal requirements relating to nuclear security and nuclear trafficking;
  • Converting civilian facilities that use highly enriched uranium to non-weapons-usable materials; and
  • Education and training to ensure that countries and facilities have the people they need to protect their materials.

The Summit reinforced the principle that all states are responsible for ensuring the best security of their nuclear material, for seeking assistance if necessary, and providing assistance if asked. It promoted a number of efforts that address nuclear security and nuclear terrorism and national and international actions to advance global security.

Country commitments support the Summit either by the state taking national actions to increase nuclear security domestically or by its working through bilateral or multilateral mechanisms to improve security globally. These country specific commitments will enhance global security, provide momentum to the effort to secure nuclear materials, and represent the sense of urgency that has been galvanized by the nature of the threat and the occasion of the Summit. Many of these commitments are also outlined in national statements made by leaders at the Summit.

Since April this year, Summit participants have been reaching out to other countries that were not able to attend the Summit to explain the Summit’s goals and outcomes and to expand the dialog among a wider group of nations. For example, Poland hosted a Summit outreach event in Warsaw in August 2010. Since then, there have been other outreach events at the United Nations, at the G8, and at the International Atomic Energy Agency. Further outreach activities are planned for Chile, which will host a regional meeting in Spring 2011.

In preparation for the next Nuclear Security Summit, which is planned for the Republic of Korea in 2012, Sherpas representing the countries that participated in the Washington Summit will continue to hold a series of meetings to evaluate progress in carrying out Summit objectives and help prepare leaders for the 2012 Summit in Seoul. The first of these Sherpa meetings took place earlier this month in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As noted earlier, one of the major outcomes of the Summit was recognition of the need to secure all vulnerable materials, and the international effort to secure all vulnerable material in four years. As reflected in the types of activities listed in the Work Plan, or what we can here call the multi-dimensional approach to addressing nuclear security, the four effort encompasses many programs and projects that fundamentally seek to prevent the chances that terrorists will obtain nuclear material. So while the goal of securing nuclear material recognizes the need to secure material at the source, converting reactors to use low enriched uranium fuel, and the removal of nuclear material, it also recognizes the need for other activities on a multilateral level and multidimensional level. These include bolstering the ability to detect smuggled material, recover lost material, identify the materials’ origin, and prosecute those who are trading in these materials. It also recognizes the importance of engaging those outside the government and education of the public on these issues. It should be remembered that nuclear security is a perpetual commitment, requiring ongoing vigilance as threats change, equipment wears out, and technologies advance.

For us to effectively advance President Obama’s international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material within four years, we must promote this multi-dimensional approach to nuclear security

In this respect, the Summit Work Plan notes that “Participating States will work together, as appropriate, to ensure that nuclear security cooperation mechanisms are complementary, reinforcing, efficient, consistent with related IAEA activities and appropriately matched to identified needs in those States requesting assistance.” The need for nations to work cooperatively in all the areas of the multi-dimensional aspects of nuclear security was highlighted in several similar statements in the communiqué and work plan.

One of the relevant international legal obligations that are a part of this multi-dimensional approach to securing nuclear material is United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540.

In April 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopted Security Council Resolution1540, establishing for the first time binding obligations on all U.N. member states under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to take and enforce effective measures against the proliferation of WMD, their means of delivery and related materials. The resolution recognizes the need to “enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels.”

UNSCR 1540, if fully implemented, can help ensure that no State or non-State actor is a source or beneficiary of WMD proliferation. All states have three primary obligations regarding WMD under UNSCR 1540: to prohibit support to non-State actors seeking such items; to adopt and enforce effective laws prohibiting the proliferation of such items to non-State actors, and prohibiting assisting or financing such proliferation; and to take and enforce effective measures to control these items, in order to prevent their proliferation, as well as to control the provision of funds and services that contribute to proliferation.

Many governments and non-governmental organizations are actively working bilaterally to address successful implementation of the resolution. As a Chapter VII resolution, it has become an important baseline for reference with broader nuclear non-proliferation and counter-proliferation work.

As many of you are aware, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or the IAEA, is an international institution that plays a significant role in the area of securing nuclear materials. The IAEA has completed its Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities: Information Circular (INFCIRC) 225/Rev. 5. This Information Circular provides guidance and recommendations for developing and implementing the physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities. The United States has long pushed for the INFCIRC/225 to be revised to address the post 9/11/2001 threat environment and to conform with and provide guidance for implementation of the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and UNSCR 1540 obligations. As a result, the latest version, the fifth revision, provides guidance for planning and implementing effective physical protection regime.

Other relevant work of the IAEA includes the Agency’s Nuclear Security Plan 2010-2013. The objective of the Nuclear Security Plan is to contribute to global efforts to achieve worldwide, effective security wherever nuclear or other radioactive material is in use, storage and/or transport, and of associated facilities, by supporting States, upon request, in their efforts to establish and maintain effective nuclear security. The objective is also to assist adherence to and implementation of nuclear security related international legal instruments, and to strengthen the international cooperation and coordination of assistance given through bilateral programs and other international initiatives in a manner which would also contribute to enabling the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy and of such applications with radioactive substances.

The IAEA also publishes the IAEA Nuclear Security Series. Nuclear security issues relating to the prevention and detection of, and response to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access and illegal transfer, or other malicious acts involving nuclear material and other radioactive substances and their associated facilities are addressed in the IAEA Nuclear Security Guidelines. These publications are consistent with, and complement, international nuclear security instruments such as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment, UNSCR1540 and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Another great service the IAEA provides is the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) Missions. This was created by the agency to assist states in strengthening their national nuclear security regime. IPPAS provides peer advice on implementing international instruments, and agency guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities. During an IPPAS mission, the state’s physical protection system is reviewed and compared with international guidelines and internationally recognized best practices. Based on this review, recommendations for improvements are provided including follow-up activities and assistance.

All of these efforts were recognized in the NSS communiqué and work plan. For example, the Communiqué noted that states “Reaffirm the essential role of the IAEA in the international nuclear security framework and will work to ensure it continues to have the appropriate structure, resources, and expertise needed to carry out its mandated nuclear security activities.” Regarding the UN, specifically including the work plan, the states noted “the need to fully implement United Nations Security Council 1540,” and that “States support the continued dialogue between the Security Council committee established pursuant to UNSCR 1540 and States, and support strengthened international cooperation in this regard.”….

Let’s touch on two other efforts that form part of the multi-disciplinary approach to nuclear security. These are the Global Initative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. Regarding these two activities, the Communiqué “recognize the contributions of the GINCT and the G8-led Global Partnership within their respective mandates and memberships.” The Work Plan reinforced the idea of states working to ensure that nuclear security cooperation mechanisms are complementary and reinforcement [check this].”

The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, or GICNT develops plans, policies, and procedures to assist GICNT partners in building and enhancing their capabilities. These activities provide an opportunity for partner nations to share information and expertise in a voluntary, non-binding framework.

Participants in the GICNT are committed to several Statement of Principles that are geared to developing partnership capacity to combat nuclear terrorism on a determined and systematic basis, consistent with national legal authorities and obligations they have under relevant international legal frameworks. It calls on all states concerned with this threat to international peace and security, to make a commitment to implement on voluntary basis principles that include the following:

  • Improve the ability to detect nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances in order to prevent illicit trafficking in such materials and substances, to include cooperation in the research and development of national detection capabilities that would be interoperable;
  • Improve capabilities of participants to search for, confiscate, and establish safe control over unlawfully held nuclear or other radioactive materials and substances or devices using them.
  • Improve capabilities of participants for response, mitigation, and investigation, in cases of terrorist attacks involving the use of nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances; and
  • Promote information sharing pertaining to the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and their facilitation.

The G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, since its launch by G-8 Leaders in 2002, has made significant progress toward its aim of preventing terrorists or states that support them from acquiring or developing WMD. The GP consists of a pledge of $20 billion dollars by 23 nations for ten years. The Global Partnership is addressing nonproliferation, disarmament, counterterrorism, and nuclear safety issues through cooperative projects in such areas as destruction of chemical weapons; the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines; the security and disposition of fissile materials; and rechanneling employment of former weapons scientists to peaceful civilian endeavors. The G-8 Global Partnership Working Group coordinates international activities to advance the initiative. Progress to date is reported and goals and plans for coming years are discussed and approved during the annual G-8 summits.

Currently the US is seeking extension of the partnership for another 10 years, to 2012 and seeking additional funding for that extended time frame. It is also seeking new partners.

I noted earlier the importance of those outside government in playing a role in this multi-dimensional approach, and in fact, being a part of this approach. In the Communiqué, the participants noted the importance of recognizing the role of the nuclear industry, including the private sector, in nuclear security. The Work Plan notes that, “Participating States will promote cooperation, as appropriate, among international organizations, governments, other stakeholders, and academia for effective capacity building.” The activities of those outside government, including those of many of you here today, should be incorporated into the multi-dimensional approaches.

One such organization is the World Institute for Nuclear Security. This organization’s goal is to help improve security of nuclear and high hazard radioactive materials so that they are secure from unauthorized access, theft, sabotage and diversion and cannot be utilized for terrorist or other nefarious purposes. It does this by providing an international forum for those accountable for nuclear security to share and promote the implementation of best security practices. WINS produces international best practices guides, hosts workshops, and produces a number of other related publications. Its members consist of both organizations and individuals to have some accountability for nuclear security.

The international NGO community gathered on April 12, 2010 here in Washington to help raise the awareness of the importance of nuclear security among the international NGO community. International NGOs have been meeting outside the US as well to continue to promote the objectives and goals of the Nuclear Security Summit. In addition, the day after the Summit, international nuclear industry representatives met to discuss the Summit and nuclear security and to raise awareness on the importance of these issues. All these efforts helped strengthen the message for the importance of nuclear security.


There are many aspects to the multidimensional approach to nuclear security, only some of which I mentioned today. Others include capacity building for nuclear security and cooperation among states for the promotion of nuclear security culture through technology development, human resource development, and education, and training on nuclear security issues. It also includes efforts to prevent and respond to incidents of illicit nuclear trafficking, and agree to share, subject to respective national laws and procedures, information and expertise on such areas as nuclear detection, forensics, law enforcement, and the development of new technologies, efforts also reflected in the GICNT Additionally, it includes efforts related to export controls and border security, the establishment of regional Centers of Excellence that focus on nuclear security issues, and the engagement of scientists with nuclear expertise.

WMD proliferation and terrorism is a global threat. If we as a global community are to combat that threat, a multi-dimensional approach is needed. There are many aspects to the problem that must be addressed at various levels of government and outside government, with those inside and outside government, and around the world. Through these efforts and initiatives, states must now move toward being better able to coordinate their own activities dedicated to nuclear security. Some of the activities, such as those in the IAEA, UNSCR 1540, and initiatives such as the GICNT and the GP, provide opportunities for coordination. We can continue to improve on these.

Summit participants have committed to serve as responsible stewards of nuclear material, to reduce stocks of nuclear material where possible and to protect that material to the highest standards. This will require a long-term commitment by countries to fully embrace these obligations and to work together on this multi-dimensional approach.