Address n-security in coherent manner, says Seoul communique
Seoul, March 27 (IANS) Sustained efforts are required to address the issues of nuclear safety and nuclear security in a coherent manner that will help ensure the safe and secure peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the Nuclear Security Summit declared Tuesday.
"Noting the Fukushima accident of March 2011 and the nexus between nuclear security and nuclear safety, we consider that sustained efforts are required to address the issues of nuclear safety and nuclear security in a coherent manner that will help ensure the safe and secure peaceful uses of nuclear energy," the Seoul Communique issued at the conclusion of the two-day second Nuclear Security Summit said.
This is in line with India's stance that there is an interface between nuclear safety and nuclear security.
"The two issues are co-related in some fashion. The issue of safety has to be taken care of at the planning stage. Guns, gates and guards are not adequate. There is the question of access controls, and whenever needed to address threats by insiders," R.B. Grover, principal advisor to India's Department of Atomic Energy, told reporters here Monday.
There is also a mention of this in the National Progress Report submitted by India to the Seoul Summit Tuesday.
"The government has introduced a bill in parliament for the establishment of an Independent Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority which will also enhance oversight of nuclear security and strengthen synergy between safety and security," the report said.
At the same time, the Seoul Communique reaffirmed "that measures to strengthen nuclear security will not hamper the rights of states to develop and utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes".
The 58 leaders gathered at Seoul, including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, renewed the political commitments generated from the 2010 Washington Summit to work towards strengthening nuclear security, reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism and preventing terrorists, criminals, or other unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear materials.
"Nuclear terrorism continues to be one of the most challenging threats to international security. Defeating this threat requires strong national measures and international cooperation given its potential global political, economic, social, and psychological consequences.
"We reaffirm our shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy," the communique said.
It stressed the fundamental responsibility of states, "consistent with their respective national and international obligations", to maintain effective security of all nuclear material, which includes nuclear material used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control, and to prevent non-state actors from acquiring such material and from obtaining information or technology required to use them for "malicious purposes".
"We likewise recognize the fundamental responsibility of states to maintain effective security of other radioactive materials," the communique said.
"Noting the essential role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in facilitating international cooperation and supporting the efforts of States to fulfill their nuclear security responsibilities, we further stress the importance of regional and international cooperation, and encourage states to promote cooperation with and outreach activities to international partners.
On the creation of a global nuclear security architecture, the communique hoped that multilateral instruments like the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) would be universally adhered to and that the amendments to the former could come into force by 2014.
The communique urged states to minimise the use of highly enriched uranium by 2013 and to secure radioactive sources from "malicious acts".
It also underscored the need to develop national capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to and prosecute illicit nuclear trafficking.
"We will work to strengthen cooperation among states and encourage them to share information, consistent with national regulations, on individuals involved in trafficking offenses of nuclear and other radioactive materials, including through INTERPOL's Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit and the World Customs Organization.
Noting the importance of international cooperation, both in technology and human resource development, to advance nuclear forensics, the communique said investment in human capacity building is fundamental to promoting and sustaining a strong nuclear security culture and that states should share best practices and build national capabilities, including through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
"We will continue to make voluntary and substantive efforts toward strengthening nuclear security and implementing political commitments made in this regard," the communique said, adding that the next Nuclear Security Summit will be held in the Netherlands in 2014.
(Vishnu Makhijani can be contacted at email@example.com)
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