Remarks at the 24th UN Conference on Disarmament Issues 'Creating a Peaceful and Safe Future: Pressing Issues and Potential Solutions' on "Nuclear Terrorism: Threats to Asia and Beyond"
Special Envoy and Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs
(As Prepared Remarks)
It is really a great honor for me to be here this morning. Let me begin by adding my thanks to the organizers of this UN Conference on Disarmament Issues, our hosts in Shizuoka, and Sharon Riggle, Director of the UN Centre for Peace and Disarmament in the Pacific, for their kind invitation.
I am very happy to be here with you today because of the conference’s focus not just on threats, but on potential solutions. The threats are numerous, serious, and global. This region certainly faces its share of pressing issues, particularly with North Korea's provocative behavior and its ballistic and nuclear missile programs. The United States welcomes the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2087 in response to the D.P.R.K.’s December 12 launch. As Ambassador Glyn Davies, who was in Tokyo recently has stressed, the D.P.R.K.’s subsequent threats to conduct additional long-range launches and “a nuclear test of a higher level” are needlessly provocative, and we call on North Korea to refrain from actions that increase tensions in the region and undermine regional stability.
On the other side of the equation, my focus at the U.S. Department of State and in the U.S. Government is on multilateral initiatives that help create a more peaceful and safer future, particularly against nuclear threats.
As many of you know, on April 5, 2009, President Obama made his speech in Prague. During that speech, Obama focused on an issue he termed “fundamental to the security of our nations and to the peace of the world – the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st Century.” President Obama noted that “the existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.” This is an issue that as he noted, “matters to people everywhere.” Regardless of where a weapon may be exploded, the effects will be felt everywhere. It is therefore important to make sure that terrorists never acquire nuclear weapons. As Obama noted, “This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with one nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction.” With that admonishment, President Obama announced the effort to secure all nuclear material around the world. If nuclear material is secure, there will be less opportunity for terrorists to build nuclear weapons. To make this goal of securing nuclear weapons a reality, the President announced the hosting of a Nuclear Security Summit.
He envisioned that the Summit would focus high-level international attention on the threat of vulnerable nuclear material and nuclear terrorism. Both the 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits have highlighted the fact that nuclear terrorism is a global problem that is not faced by any single region of the world. As the title to this presentation notes, our theme here is “Asia and Beyond.” It is in that vein that I shape my remarks. What is important is to consider those ways in which we globally combat this threat.
As Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs at the U.S. Department of State, for the last almost four years, I have been very engaged in efforts to build synergies, expand collaborative efforts, and thereby reduce threats around the world. I will focus on five of these noteworthy initiatives and organizations – the 1540 Committee, the Nuclear Security Summit process, the IAEA, the Global Initiative to Counter Nuclear Terrorism, and the Global Partnership.
The prevention of nuclear terrorism in Asia and globally cannot be effectively achieved without the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540. The resolution, unanimously adopted by the Security Council, identified the threat posed by the nexus of terrorists and proliferation of nuclear, chemical, biological weapons, their means of delivery and related materials. It creates legally binding obligations on all States to not provide any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear weapons or their means of delivery. It also obliges all States to take appropriate measures to ensure the security of production, use, storage, and transport of nuclear weapons related materials, among other requirements, as a means to deny access to these items by non-state actors and reduce our vulnerability to nuclear terrorism. UNSCR 1540 provides a clear roadmap for States in regard to developing and implementing protective measures, establishing border, export, and financial controls, and the use of effective laws and regulations to achieve the goal of reducing and eliminating the threat of nuclear terrorism, and is an indispensable component of the formula to ensure international peace and security.
Within the Asia-Pacific region, the United States believes that regional cooperation is a highly effective strategy to pursue 1540 implementation, and can be utilized to develop strong practices to prevent nuclear terrorism throughout the entire region. The United States supports efforts by the ASEAN Regional Forum and other regional and sub-regional organizations in the Asia-Pacific region in their efforts to promote full implementation of UNSCR 1540. Such organizations can provide leadership in education and awareness, develop effective practices, engage in capacity-building, and serve as an information clearinghouse for the countries in the region seeking guidance on 1540 implementation and ways to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism. The United States stands ready to work cooperatively with other nations, regional and intergovernmental organizations, industry, and civil society in the Asia-Pacific region to reach the goal of universal implementation of this critically important resolution as part of our effort to eliminate the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Nuclear Security Summit
While 1540 deals with the full range of chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological threats, the nuclear security summit process obviously focuses on just one type of these serious threats. As envisioned, the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington brought high-level attention and prominence to the issue of nuclear security as countries develop a common understanding of the threat posed by nuclear terrorism and agreed on effective measures to prevent nuclear terrorism.
The 2010 Summit produced a Communique and detailed Work Plan that articulated a common commitment to focus collectively on minimizing the use and locations of sensitive nuclear materials and continually exchanging information on best practices and practical solutions.
The Summit achieved crucial international consensus on three key areas:
- The danger of nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats to our collective security
- 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 2010 Washington communique, agreed amongst the participants, also:
- Committed leaders to the principles of nuclear security
- Reaffirmed the fundamental responsibility of States, consistent with their respective international obligations, to maintain effective security of all nuclear materials
- Promoted focused national efforts to improve security of all weapons-usable nuclear materials
- Committed States to work cooperatively as an international community to advance nuclear security, requesting and providing assistance where necessary
- Called for securing all vulnerable nuclear material in four years
The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul brought together 58 world leaders to report on their progress in meeting goals set out at the 2010 Washington Summit. The Summit highlighted that eighty percent of the commitments made by nations at the 2010 Summit have been fulfilled. These are all efforts that combat the threat of nuclear terrorism.
For this reason, the Seoul Summit was another milestone in our global efforts at securing vulnerable nuclear material and preventing nuclear terrorism. Other major accomplishments we have seen since the 2010 Summit include
Summit participants and others are also using every tool at their disposal to break up black markets and nuclear material:
- Countries like Georgia and Moldova have seized highly enriched uranium from smugglers
- Jordan and others are building their own counter nuclear smuggling teams within a global network of intelligence and law enforcement
- Nearly 20 nations have now ratified treaties and international partnerships that are at the center of these efforts
- Mexico and Ukraine joined the ranks of nations that have removed all the highly enriched uranium from their territory.
- The United States and Sweden announced the successful removal of plutonium from Sweden.
- The Japan-U.S. Nuclear Security Working Group made progress on promoting robust security for nuclear materials at civilian nuclear facilities and during transport.
- The United States, Russia and Kazakhstan unveiled the near competition of a joint project to eliminate the remnants of past nuclear testing activities at a former nuclear test site
- More than a dozen weapons worth of nuclear material was entombed using special cement and security barriers and is now safely secured
Summit participants also discussed some topics new to the Summit process such as nuclear safety and radiological terrorism. However, the Summit was about more than just reporting on past progress.
At the end of the Summit, countries agreed to a detailed Communiqué that advances important nuclear security goals. The Seoul Communique sets out 11 priority areas in nuclear security, including:
- security, accounting, and control of nuclear materials and minimizing the use of highly-enriched uranium
- radioactive sources
- nuclear security and safety
- transportation security
- combating illicit trafficking
- nuclear forensics
- nuclear security culture
- information security
Many countries agreed to a number of multilateral joint commitments or what we called “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
- measures to detect and prevent nuclear terrorism
- commitments among the United States and several European nations to work toward eliminating the use of potentially vulnerable highly enriched uranium (HEU) in isotope production by the end of 2015, while maintaining a reliable supply of medical isotopes used to diagnose cancer and heart disease
- promoting the security of nuclear materials while in transit
- establishing and coordinating centers of excellence
Despite the successes, there is still work to be done to ensure all nuclear material is secure and we have done all we can to prevent nuclear terrorism. Nuclear material continues to be stored without adequate protection, at risk of exploitation by terrorists and criminal gangs that have expressed an interest. 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 next summit will be in 2014 and hosted by The Netherlands. We seek additional progress at that event in the global effort to secure all nuclear material to ensure those materials do not get into the hands of terrorists. Two Dutch priorities for the 2014 summit are ratification of the amended CPPNM by countries that have not yet done so and promoting/advancing the use of voluntary IAEA IPPAS (International Physical Protection Advisory Service) missions.
International Atomic Energy Agency
Set up in 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency (or IAEA) has grown to play a vital role, working with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide, to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. For over ten years, the IAEA has played a central role in helping countries to improve nuclear security. In so doing, the Agency helps Member States minimize the risk of nuclear and other radioactive material from falling into the wrong hands, or of nuclear facilities being subjected to malicious acts.
The IAEA is well positioned to carry out its mission and its activities, with the Agency’s membership of over 150 Member States, unique technical expertise and its long experience of providing assistance and practical guidance to countries.
The IAEA has established internationally accepted guidance that is used as a benchmark for assessing nuclear security. It helps countries to apply this guidance through expert peer review missions, specialist training and human resource development programs.
The IAEA helps countries to strengthen physical security at nuclear and other facilities where nuclear material is stored, or while it is being transported. It also helps Member States strengthen second line of defense capabilities, such as by providing detection equipment at border crossings and training border guards.
The Agency’s Illicit Trafficking Database, to which 117 countries now contribute information, can be used to monitor and analyze thefts and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and radioactive materials.
Another important mechanism to combat nuclear terrorism is through the establishment of global networks of Nuclear Security Support Centers and Centers of Excellence to improve the nuclear security of Member States, including by improving coordination and collaboration between these Centers.
In July of this year, the IAEA will organize an International Conference on Nuclear Security. The Conference will bring together ministers, senior policymakers and technical experts to build on the achievements of the last 10 years in collective efforts to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the working hands. The nuclear summit process also continues to throw light on the IAEA as a vehicle for further efforts in threat reduction. With such programs and activities and its global outreach, it is clear that IAEA plays a critical role in combating nuclear terrorism.
Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism
The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an informal partnership of 85 nations and four international observers that are committed to working individually and collectively to implement a set of shared nuclear security principles.
GICNT strives to ensure that non-state actors, including terrorist and black-market networks, do not gain access to nuclear weapons, their means of delivery or related materials. GICNT seeks to significantly strengthen the international standards related to the prevention of proliferation and nuclear terrorism. It aims to strengthen global capacity to counter nuclear terrorism by conducting multilateral activities to help partners test, apply and institutionalize best practices and lessons learned in nuclear detection, nuclear forensics, and emergency response and mitigation, which are the current focus areas of working groups chaired by the Netherlands, Australia and Morocco. The United States and Russia founded the initiative in 2006 and currently serve as Co-Chairs, and Spain serves as Coordinator of the Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG).
GICNT partners formally endorse the GICNT’s Statement of Principles, committing themselves to do the following: improve control and protection of nuclear and radiological material and facilities; develop the means to detect and safely seize nuclear and radiological material illegally trafficked or otherwise out of regulatory control; deny safe haven and resources to terrorists seeking to acquire or use nuclear/radiological material; ensure adequate legal frameworks to combat nuclear terrorism; respond to and mitigate the consequences of nuclear terrorism; and promote information sharing aimed at preventing and responding to nuclear terrorism.
To date, GICNT partners have conducted over 50 multilateral activities and seven senior-level meetings in support of these nuclear security objectives. The GICNT is open to nations that share in its common goals and are actively committed to combating nuclear terrorism on a determined and systematic basis.
The March 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul recognized the contributions of the GICNT and stimulated renewed commitments by countries to take steps to enhance nuclear security and prevent unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear materials. It has inspired our work in the GICNT and has resulted in good progress in identifying best practices within each of our three working groups.
Global Partnership (or “GP”)
The Global Partnership was established by the G8 in 2002 as a 10-year, $20 billion initiative to prevent terrorists, or states that support them, from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction. While it was established within the G8 structure, the GP has grown over the years, and now has 25 members.
To date, the Global Partnership has spent over $21 billion towards preventing terrorists from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction. The Global Partnership has been a positive model of cooperation and coordination in efforts to combat these threats.
For those first 10 years, the majority of work within the Global Partnership was focused on dismantling nuclear submarines and chemical weapons in Russia, though funding also went to some other activities and programs within Russia and the former Soviet Union.
The Global Partnership has:
- Improved accounting, control, and physical protection of nuclear and radiological materials;
- Enhanced nuclear, biological, and chemical security;
- Dismantled nuclear submarines and safe storage of removed spent fuel;
- Improved detection of nuclear and radiological materials and prevented illicit trafficking by improving border security capabilities;
- Engaged and redirected to peaceful purposes scientists, technicians, and engineers who have WMD, missile, and related expertise; and
- Provided enhanced training on nuclear safeguards and security.
However, as the Global Partnership neared its 10 year conclusion in 2012, the partners began to realize that the programs and activities of the initiative had to evolve to reflect changes in the threat of WMD terrorism that faced the world. The threat of WMD terrorism does not originate from any one region but it is a global threat; the threat is not limited to nuclear submarines and chemical weapons, and more nations need to play a role in the work to reduce the threat. With this in mind, the Global Partnership worked towards extending the mandate of the Global Partnership beyond 2012 and to be much more global in its activities and in its spirit.
In the G8 Global Partnership Assessment and Options for Future Programming document of 2011, the GP noted some activities it could engage in the area of nuclear and radiological security under an extended mandate beyond 2012. Those areas include the following:
- Projects related to the 4 year effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material;
- Physical protection of nuclear material and facilities in use, storage and transport;
- Provision of radiation detection equipment and training at land borders and ports to prevent illicit trafficking;
- Improvement of countries’ capacities in nuclear security and detection and prevention of nuclear smuggling;
- Protection or removal of radiological sources and implementation of the IAEA Code of Conduct;
- Capacity building to either establish or enhance efficiency of national export control systems, including missile technology transfers; and
- Support of implementation, on a voluntary basis, of the political commitments made at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit and those reflected in the Nuclear Security Summit Communiqué and Work Plan.”
The GP could also focus on priorities established at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit and look for areas where the GP can help to facilitate progress and encourage program implementation toward those priorities.
The GP recognized the links between its mission and the Nuclear Security Summit process, which aims to enhance the physical protection of nuclear materials and strengthen capacities to prevent illicit trafficking. For example, the Global Partnership is already a critical mechanism for implementing the political commitments arising from the Summits.
More broadly, the GP provides its members a forum to discuss specific Summit-related activities appropriate for GP engagement and coordination, to exchange information on current GP member program activities and those of the relevant IOs, and to identify potential gaps and specific opportunities for GP members to partner or leverage each others’ implementation efforts.
A more dedicated focus on nuclear and radiological security within the GP could contribute in the area of nuclear and radiological security by:
- Providing a forum for communication between countries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, representatives from Centers of Excellence (CoEs) and CBRN threat mitigation support centers, and other GP participants to identify or deepen specific opportunities for cooperation and partnering
- Helping to raise the profile of key Nuclear Security Summit priorities
- Developing tangible implementation areas that directly benefit the advancement of nuclear security globally.
At the G8 Summit in Deauville, France, in 2011, the Leaders decided to extend the Global Partnership beyond 2012 and to bring it more in line with what is needed to combat today’s WMD threats.
While some funds will still be dedicated to activities in Russia, the Leaders mandated that the partners also focus more programming globally in the area of nuclear and radiological security, biosecurity, scientist engagement, and particularly for implementation of UNSCR 1540. The leaders also agreed to “work with all partners in discussing assistance needs and coordinating possible projects in the above-mentioned areas.”
Leaders also agreed that new members should be sought so that the partnership will have a truly global representation and, as a result, the GP has done outreach with a number of countries about joining. In this respect, the GP has reached out to some countries in Asia.
As a deliverable at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, the GP submitted a joint statement that highlighted the funding by GP members to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund (NSF), from January 2010 to March 2012. The NSF was created in 2001 to support the IAEA’s nuclear security related activities, including those to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism. The statement noted that since January 2010, Global Partnership countries contributed more than $55 million to the NSF. Because 24 of 25 GP members are also participants in the Nuclear Security Summit process, areas of synergy between the Global Partnership and the Summit process can be developed and strengthened.
At the October GP meeting, the Global Partnership agreed to establish a Nuclear and Radiological Security Sub-working Group. Its first meeting will take place next week in London, at the first meeting of the GP under the UK Chairmanship. The work effort associated with the NSRWG should be supportive of member nations’ work leading up to the 2014 Summit
In conclusion, through work of the 1540 Committee, nuclear security summit process, IAEA, Global Initiative, and Global Partnership, the threat of nuclear terrorism in Asia and beyond has been reduced. But the threat has not been eliminated and we need to continue working through these five organizations and initiatives. Thank you.