Remarks on the Conclusion of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit
Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs
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My name is Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins and I am the U.S. Department of State Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs. I recently returned from Seoul, where 58 world leaders stood united in their continued commitment toward nuclear security.
Nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats facing the world today. Fortunately, the fact is that there is a solution to the problem: we know how to secure nuclear materials, and we know that if we can take coordinated action around the globe, we can dramatically reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.
The Seoul Summit was a significant milestone in our progress toward achieving goals established at the summit President Obama hosted in 2010 in Washington. Ninety percent of the country commitments made in Washington have already been fulfilled.
I would like to highlight some of the major accomplishments we saw coming out of the Seoul Summit:
- The United States, Russia and Kazakhstan unveiled the near competition of a joint project to eliminate remnants of past nuclear testing activities at a former nuclear test site.
- More than a dozen weapons worth of nuclear material were removed from the area and are now safely secured.
- We’re moving forward with Russia to eliminate enough plutonium for about 17,000 nuclear weapons and turn it instead into electricity.
- Mexico and Ukraine have joined the ranks of nations that have removed all the highly enriched uranium from their territory.
- The United States and several European partners announced an agreement to sustain the supply of necessary medical isotopes used to treat cancer and heart disease without the use of highly enriched uranium.
Three additional accomplishments made since the 2010 Summit include:
- One, the extension of the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction;
- Two, expanded membership of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism; and
- Three, the extension of UN Security Council Resolution 1540.
However, the Summit was about more than just reporting on past progress.
At the end of the Summit, countries agreed to a detailed Communique that advances important nuclear security goals.
The Seoul Communique sets out 11 priority areas in nuclear security, some of which include: strengthening the global nuclear security architecture; promoting the security, accounting, and control of nuclear materials and radioactive sources; and minimizing the use of highly-enriched uranium; and building a the nuclear security culture.
Many countries agreed to a number of multilateral joint commitments or what we call "gift baskets," each of which has detailed work plans to ensure their success. These gift baskets include work on: thwarting the illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive materials, drafting national legislation to implement nuclear security agreements, an agreement to significantly minimize the amount of potentially vulnerable highly enriched uranium (HEU) by sustaining the supply of medical isotopes without the use of highly enriched uranium and promoting the security of nuclear materials while in transit.
Through the Summit process, the international community has made great strides in the effort to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons, and that has made the global community safer.
Some of these initiatives that Summit participants have taken individually may seem like small steps, but they add up to a significant shift.
We look forward to working with our international partners to further secure vulnerable nuclear material and make progress toward the President’s nonproliferation agenda.
The Netherlands will host the next Nuclear Security Summit in early 2014. I believe that in two years time we will have together made significant strides in improving nuclear security and making the world a safer place for all of us. Be sure to regularly visit our website at www.state.gov/nuclearsummit for the latest news and information on these efforts. Thank you.