National Statement of the United States
Nuclear Security Summit
Washington, D.C. 2010
In April 2009, President Obama addressed the citizens of Prague and the world, stating clearly and with
conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Recognizing this goal is not immediately achievable, the President laid the groundwork to ensure that
through the steady accumulation of progress we move continually along the path toward this critical
In that speech, the President identified the risk of nuclear terrorism as the most immediate and extreme
threat to global security, called for an international four-year effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material,
and announced his intent to host a Nuclear Security Summit. Over the past year, with the leadership of
President Obama, we have made progress on this unprecedented call to action. At the United Nations
Security Council last fall, we unanimously passed Resolution 1887 endorsing the goal of securing all
nuclear materials and preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons.
This Nuclear Security Summit takes place on April 12-13, 2010. Leaders from 47 nations as well as the
United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union will gather in
Washington, DC – the largest gathering of heads of state and government in Washington’s history.
Our objective is clear: ensure that terrorists never gain access to plutonium or highly-enriched uranium –
the essential ingredients of a nuclear weapon. The challenge we face is how to lock down the over 2000
tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium exist in dozens of countries with a variety of peaceful as
well as military uses. The consequences of a nuclear detonation, or even an attempted detonation,
perpetrated by a terrorist or criminal group anywhere in the world would be devastating. Not only could
there be an enormous loss of life but there would also be overwhelming economic, political and
psychological consequences that would reverberate worldwide.
Just as the United States is not the only country that would suffer from nuclear terrorism, we cannot
prevent it on our own. The goal of the Nuclear Security Summit is to highlight this global threat and
agree to steps we can take together to secure nuclear material and prevent illicit nuclear trafficking. The
Nuclear Security Summit provides an occasion for the United States to highlight some of its recent and
future efforts to show leadership in improving the security of nuclear materials both at home and abroad.
Domestic Nuclear Security: Our first priority is to ensure that nuclear materials and facilities in the United
States are secure. Through sustainable security programs, including a continual evaluation of the threat,
inspections, and emergency response, preparedness and coordination programs, the United States keeps
its materials secure. Following September 11, 2001, security at domestic facilities was enhanced and is
evaluated on a continuous basis. Most recently, on March 22, 2010, the Highly Enriched Uranium
Materials Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee—an ultra-secure uranium warehouse that replaces multiple
aging facilities with a single, state-of-the-art storage facility— came on-line as one measure of our
increased security posture.
As part of our ongoing efforts to evaluate the security of its nuclear facilities, we will request an advisory
mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Physical Protection Advisory
Service to review physical protection at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Center for
Neutron Research, licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Center’s reactor supports a
broad program of research using neutron techniques, and develops and applies new neutron measurement
technologies. NIST has committed to convert its reactor from highly enriched uranium to a new low
enriched uranium fuel once that has been tested and approved for use. This advisory mission will provide
an independent, confidential comparison of the physical protection regulations and their implementation
with international guidelines and best practices.
Ratifying Conventions: The United States has accelerated efforts to complete ratification procedures for
the two key international treaties governing nuclear security, the International Convention for the
Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical
Protection of Nuclear Material. Legislation that brings U.S. laws into line with these treaties has been
submitted to the Congress. Once laws are in place implementing the conventions, the United States will
deposit its instruments of ratification.
Minimizing Highly Enriched Uranium: In 2009, the United States completed conversion of all 20 of our
highly-enriched-uranium-fueled reactors that could be converted to use low enriched uranium fuel. There
are six remaining highly-enriched-uranium-fueled reactors in the United States that will be converted to
use low enriched uranium fuel once acceptable fuel has been developed.
Plutonium Disposition: The United States and Russia have just signed the Protocol to the Plutonium
Management and Disposition Agreement, which commits both countries to eliminate 68 metric tons of
plutonium (34 each) from their weapons programs—enough material for approximately 17,000 nuclear
weapons combined. Furthermore, the United States is in the final stages of approval to bring up to 100
kilograms of plutonium from sites of concern into the United States pending disposition, thereby
eliminating vulnerable, weapons-usable plutonium in certain cases where no other solution is available.
Nuclear Detection: Due to shortages in materials for current neutron detectors, the United States is
working to develop and deploy new neutron detection technologies through an aggressive program of
research, development, test, and evaluation. The time frame for this effort has been shortened from 5
years to 18 months.
Nuclear Forensics: With the emerging discipline of nuclear ―archeology‖, the United States has launched
an international effort to develop nuclear forensics library, exercises, common lexicons, and other
foundational elements that will provide the framework for cooperation between governments
investigating the illicit use of nuclear materials.
Sharing Best Practices: Nuclear security can be advanced through sharing best practices among those
with responsibility for securing and accounting for nuclear materials in the private and public sectors. We
are working with Russia and other members to turn the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism
into a durable international institution. The United States strongly supports the World Institute for
Nuclear Security as an effective forum for sharing best security practices, based on its broad membership
in 44 countries, representing private industry, police, government agencies, state regulators and national
laboratories. We will continue to provide financial support and expertise and encourage other countries to
do so as well.
International Cooperation: Working within existing legal and multilateral nuclear security frameworks,
U.S. nuclear security cooperative activities help states worldwide meet their nuclear security obligations,
uphold the highest international nuclear security recommendations and standards, and maximize the
peaceful benefits of nuclear materials while reducing the risks of their misuse. In its Fiscal Year 2011
budget request, the U.S. has requested the largest amount ever – $1.6 billion, a 31% increase over the
previous year – for these programs across multiple agencies working with countries around the world.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540: In 2009 the UN Security Council created a committee
to assist states in implementing their obligations under this universal, binding resolution. The United
States has proposed, and intends to contribute to, a voluntary fund to help countries meet the obligations
this resolution places on them, and to match them up with wide range of national, international, and
nongovernmental sources of assistance.
Nuclear Security Programme of the International Atomic Energy Agency: In 2009, the United States led
efforts to gain agreement of the 150-plus nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency to establish
for the first time a dedicated budget line for nuclear security, which had until then been funded
exclusively through voluntary contributions from member states. The U.S. voluntary contribution to this
effort has risen 59% since 2007.
G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction: In 2002,
under the leadership of Canada, the G8 committed $20 billion over ten years to stop the spread of
weapons of mass destruction. Eight years later, the 23 G8 Partners have allocated more than $18 billion
to this effort. We have made progress with Russia to eliminate stocks of chemical weapons and to
dismantle decommissioned nuclear submarines. We are ready to join with our Canadian colleagues and
call for another ten-year extension with an expanded scope/mission and to commit up to another $10
billion towards new projects, including expanding our efforts to improving nuclear security to countries
not previously eligible for G8 assistance.
Nuclear Security Summit Work Plan
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism
The international treaty against nuclear terrorism adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly in April 2005 bolsters the global legal framework to counterterrorist threats, including
cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The International
Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism opened for signature in September
The Convention is a key part of global efforts to prevent terrorists from gaining access to
weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the use of which could lead to catastrophic consequences.
Based on an instrument originally proposed by the Russian Federation in 1998, the Convention
provides for a definition of acts of nuclear terrorism and covers a broad range of possible targets,
including those against nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors. Under its provisions, the
alleged offenders must be either extradited or prosecuted. It also encourages States to cooperate
in preventing terrorist attacks by sharing information and assisting each other in connection with
criminal investigations and extradition proceedings. The treaty requires that any seized nuclear
or radiological material is held in accordance with IAEA safeguards, and handled in regard to the
IAEA´s health, safety, and physical protection standards.
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)
The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material entered into force on February 8,
1987 and as of March 2010 had 142 Parties as signatories. The Convention is the only legally
binding international instrument in the area of physical protection of nuclear material and 1 of
the 13 international counterterrorism instruments. It establishes measures related to the
prevention, detection, and punishment of offenses related to nuclear material.
On July 8, 2005, States Parties to the CPPNM adopted by consensus an Amendment to the
CPPNM. Whereas the obligations for physical protection under the CPPNM covered nuclear
material during international transport, the Amendment to the CPPNM makes it legally binding
for States Parties to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and
transport. It also provides for expanded cooperation between and among States regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences.
The Amendment will enter into force when it has been ratified by two-thirds of the States Parties
of the Convention. The Amendment constitutes an important milestone in international efforts to
improve the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities. The Amendment is vitally
important for nuclear security and will have a major impact in reducing the vulnerability of
States Parties to nuclear terrorism.
The General Conference has appealed to all States that have not yet done so to adhere to the
CPPNM as soon as possible. The IAEA’s Board of Governors and General Conference have both encouraged all States Parties to ratify the Amendment and to act in accordance with its
object and purpose pending its entry into force.
United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540
In April 2004, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted UNSCR 1540, 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. 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 under UNSCR 1540 relating to such items: 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. If
implemented successfully, each state's actions will significantly strengthen the international
standards relating to the export of sensitive items and support for proliferators (including
financing) and ensure that non-state actors, including terrorist and black-market networks, do not
gain access to chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, their means of delivery or related
United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 Voluntary Fund
The United States is strongly committed to establishing a voluntary fund to help provide the
technical support and expertise to support implementation of UNSCR 1540. The United States will seek to make a meaningful contribution to such a trust fund once it is established, provided it contains effective transparency and accountability mechanisms. The United States is prepared to work with the UNSCR 1540 Committee and others to make that happen.
A voluntary U.N. trust fund could help match donors with states who need help to help strengthen national export laws and detection systems to prevent materiel, technology, and financial resources from making their way to governments and terrorists seeking to build these
weapons. A number of nations, including the United States, provide bilateral assistance to countries to combat WMD and missile proliferation. Other multilateral organizations, such as the IAEA, offer assistance. Nongovernment organizations are another source of expertise and support. Expanding the multilateral efforts at the U.N. through a voluntary trust fund should
inject more coordination, cohesion, and effectiveness into the many diverse national, multinational and nongovernmental assistance efforts.
The Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities:
The IAEA’s Information Circular (INFCIRC) 225, which provides guidance and recommendations for developing and implementing the physical protection of nuclear material
and nuclear facilities, was last published in 1999 in its fourth revision. The United States has
long pushed for the INFCIRC/225 to be revised again to address the post 9/11/2001 threat environment and to conform with and provide guidance for implementation of the amended CPPNM and UNSCR 1540 obligations. The Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security
Administration led the United States Government and a core group of like-minded member states to draft a revision that was presented to the IAEA. Subsequently, the IAEA called a number of member states consultant meetings and, most recently, a final stage technical meeting for
concurrence on a revised text that is being sent to all member states for a final 120-day review.
Publication of this important fifth revision (INFCIRC/225/Rev. 5), which provides guidance for
planning and implementing effective physical protection regime, is anticipated in calendar year
International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Security Plan 2010-2013
The objective of the Nuclear Security Plan for 2010–2013, submitted by the IAEA’s Director General and approved by its Board of Governors, 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 through assistance in capacity building, guidance, human resource development, sustainability and risk reduction. 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 also would contribute to enabling the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy and of such applications with radioactive substances.
The Plan is consistent with the objective of the Agency’s Medium Term Strategy 2006–2011, to “establish and achieve global acceptance of an agreed international framework for nuclear security and support its application”.
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 series of publications. 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, the UNSCRs 1373 and 1540 and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
Publications in the IAEA Nuclear Security Guidelines series are issued in the following
Nuclear Security Fundamentals contain objectives, concepts, and principles of nuclear
security and provide the basis for security recommendations.
Recommendations present best practices that should be adopted by member states in the
application of the Nuclear Security Fundamentals.
Implementing Guides provide further elaboration of the Recommendations in broad areas
and suggest measures for their implementation.
Technical Guidance publications comprise: Reference Manuals, with detailed measures
and/or guidance on how to apply the Implementing Guides in specific fields or activities;
Training Guides, covering the syllabus and/or manuals for IAEA training courses in the
area of nuclear security; and Service Guides, which provide guidance on the conduct and
scope of IAEA nuclear security advisory missions.
IAEA Implementing Guide on Development, Use and Maintenance of the Design Basis
The Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities INFCIRC/225/Rev. 4 (Corrected) describes the design basis threat (DBT) tool and recommends development of a notional DBT. Recognizing the importance assigned to the DBT tool in INFCIRC/225, a number of IAEA member states requested that workshops be developed and conducted to present a methodology for developing, maintaining, and using a DBT. As an adjunct to the workshops, a
draft was developed and circulated for comment.
The draft was intended to implement the recommendations in INFCIRC/225/Rev. 4 (Corrected), which was issued in 1999. Since then, further developments have occurred to strengthen the international regime for the physical protection of nuclear material and radioactive material and associated facilities, including endorsement of The Physical Protection Objectives and Fundamental Principles (GOV/2001/41/Attachment) by the IAEA Board of Governors in
September 2001, and endorsement of the revised Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources by the Board of Governors in 2004. These objectives and principles were then incorporated into the July 8, 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection
of Nuclear Material. The Implementing Guide represents an update of the original draft guidance reflecting further developments.
A DBT is a comprehensive description of the motivation,intentions, and capabilities of potential
adversaries against which protection systems are designed and evaluated. Such definitions permit security planning on the basis of risk management. A DBT is derived from credible intelligence information and other data concerning threats, but is not intended to be a statement
about actual, prevailing threats. Historically, states have used DBTs in their regulatory system to
achieve appropriate allocations of resources to the protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities against malicious acts by potential adversaries that could result in high consequences, particularly radiological consequences or consequences of proliferation; however, a DBT can also be used to protect any asset with associated high potential consequences (e.g., other
radioactive material of high activity).
The Implementing Guide:
Describes a DBT, including what it is and why and under what circumstances it is used;
Identifies and recommends the roles and responsibilities of organizations that should be
involved in the development, use, and maintenance of a DBT;
Describes how to conduct a national threat assessment as a precursor to a DBT;
Explains how a DBT can be developed, including:
the information required to develop a DBT;
the decision making processes for the development of a DBT;
Explains how a DBT is incorporated into a State’s nuclear security regime;
Explains the conditions for a review of the DBT, and how the review and update are
International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS)
The International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) was created by the IAEA 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 the IPPAS mission, the state’s physical protection system is reviewed and compared with
international guidelines (INFCIRC/225/Rev.4) and internationally recognized best practices.
Based on this review, recommendations for improvements are provided including follow-up
activities and assistance. Following IPPAS recommendations, actual upgrades of physical
protection systems were initiated in several Member States through bilateral support programs.
At the request of a member state, IPPAS assembles a team of international experts who assess
the state’s system of physical protection, compare it with international best practices and make
recommendations for improvements. IPPAS missions are conducted both on a nation-wide and
facility-specific basis. As of June 30, 2008, 41 IPPAS missions have been completed in all
regions of the world.
Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism
Participants in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism are committed to the following
Statement of Principles to develop 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, notably the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment, UNSCRs 1373 and 1540. They call on all states concerned with this threat
to international peace and security, to make a commitment to implement on a voluntary basis the
Develop, if necessary, and improve accounting, control and physical protection systems
for nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances;
Enhance security of civilian nuclear facilities;
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
Improve capabilities of participants to search for, confiscate, and establish safe control
over unlawfully held nuclear or other radioactive materials and substances or devices
Prevent the provision of safe haven to terrorists and financial or economic resources to
terrorists seeking to acquire or use nuclear and other radioactive materials and
Ensure adequate respective national legal and regulatory frameworks sufficient to provide
for the implementation of appropriate criminal and, if applicable, civil liability for
terrorists and those who facilitate acts of nuclear terrorism;
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, including the development of technical means to identify nuclear and other
radioactive materials and substances that are, or may be, involved in the incident; and
Promote information sharing pertaining to the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism
and their facilitation, taking appropriate measures consistent with their national law and
international obligations to protect the confidentiality of any information which they
exchange in confidence.
Global Initiative participants recognize the role of the IAEA in the fields of nuclear safety and
security and the IAEA has been invited to serve as an observer to the Initiative. All participants
commend the IAEA for its action in the field of nuclear security. Participants intend for the
IAEA to contribute to the Initiative through its ongoing activities and technical expertise.
The initial partner nations intend to establish a terms of reference for implementation and
assessment to support effective fulfillment of the initiative, including by facilitating the provision
of assistance to participants that may require it, and facilitating suitable exercises.
They express the desire to broaden participation in the Global Initiative to other countries who
share the common goals of the Initiative, are actively committed to combating nuclear terrorism,
and endorse the Statement of Principles.
The G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass
Since its launch by G-8 Leaders at the June 2002 Kananaskis G-8 Summit, the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction has made significant progress toward its aim of preventing terrorists or states that support them from
acquiring or developing WMD. 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 under the G-8 Senior 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.
April 13, 2010
Communiqué of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit
Nuclear terrorism is one of the most challenging threats to international security, and strong nuclear security measures are the most effective means to prevent
terrorists, criminals, or other unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear materials.
In addition to our shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we also all share the objective of nuclear
security. Therefore those gathered here in Washington, D.C. on April 13, 2010, commit to strengthen nuclear security and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Success will require responsible national actions and sustained and effective international cooperation.
We welcome and join President Obama’s call to secure all vulnerable nuclear
material in four years, as we work together to enhance nuclear security.
1. Reaffirm the fundamental responsibility of States, consistent with their respective international obligations, to maintain effective security of all
nuclear materials, which includes nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control; to prevent non-state actors from obtaining the information or technology required to use such material for malicious purposes; and emphasize the importance of robust national legislative and regulatory frameworks for nuclear security;
2. Call on States to work cooperatively as an international community to advance nuclear security, requesting and providing assistance as necessary;
3. Recognize that highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium require special precautions and agree to promote measures to secure, account for, and consolidate these materials, as appropriate; and encourage the
conversion of reactors from highly enriched to low enriched uranium fuel and minimization of use of highly enriched uranium, where technically and economically feasible;
4. Endeavor to fully implement all existing nuclear security commitments and work toward acceding to those not yet joined, consistent with national laws, policies and procedures;
5. Support the objectives of international nuclear security instruments, including the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as
amended, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, as essential elements of the global nuclear security architecture;
6. Reaffirm the essential role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the international nuclear security framework and will work to ensure that it
continues to have the appropriate structure, resources and expertise needed to carry out its mandated nuclear security activities in accordance with its
Statute, relevant General Conference resolutions and its Nuclear Security Plans;
7. Recognize the role and contributions of the United Nations as well as the contributions of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the
G-8-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction within their respective mandates and memberships;
8. Acknowledge the need for capacity building for nuclear security and cooperation at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels for the promotion of
nuclear security culture through technology development, human resource development, education, and training; and stress the importance of optimizing international cooperation and coordination of assistance;
9. Recognize the need for cooperation among States to effectively prevent and respond to incidents of illicit nuclear trafficking; and agree to share, subject
to respective national laws and procedures, information and expertise through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms in relevant areas such as
nuclear detection, forensics, law enforcement, and the development of new technologies;
10. Recognize the continuing role of nuclear industry, including the private sector, in nuclear security and will work with industry to ensure the necessary priority of physical protection, material accountancy, and security
11. Support the implementation of strong nuclear security practices that will not infringe upon the rights of States to develop and utilize nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes and technology and will facilitate international cooperation in the field of nuclear security; and
12. Recognize that measures contributing to nuclear material security have value in relation to the security of radioactive substances and encourage efforts to
secure those materials as well.
Maintaining effective nuclear security will require continuous national efforts facilitated by international cooperation and undertaken on a voluntary basis by
States. We will promote the strengthening of global nuclear security through dialogue and cooperation with all states.
Thus, we issue the Work Plan as guidance for national and international action including through cooperation within the context of relevant international fora and
organizations. We will hold the next Nuclear Security Summit in the Republic of Korea in 2012.
April 13, 2010
Key Facts about the Nuclear Security Summit
An Historic Event
Not since 1945 has a U.S. President hosted a gathering of so many Heads of State and Government. This unprecedented meeting is to address an unprecedented threat—the threat of nuclear materials in the hands of terrorists or criminals.
The Promise of Prague
In April 2009, in Prague, President Obama spoke of his vision of a world without nuclear weapons even as he recognized the need to create the conditions to bring about such a world. To that end, he put forward a comprehensive agenda to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, reduce nuclear arsenals, and secure nuclear materials.
In April 2010, the United States took three bold steps in the direction of creating those conditions
with the release of a Nuclear Posture Review that reduces our dependence on nuclear weapons while strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and maintaining a strong deterrent; signing a New START treaty with Russia that limits the number of strategic arms on both sides,
and renews U.S.-Russian leadership on nuclear issues; and now has convened a gathering of world leaders to Washington to discuss the need to secure nuclear materials and prevent acts of nuclear terrorism and trafficking.
Over 2000 tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium exist in dozens of countries with 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
that al-Qa’ida, and possibly other terrorist or criminal groups, are seeking nuclear weapons –as well as the materials and expertise needed to make them. The consequences of a nuclear detonation, or even an attempted 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.
The best way to keep terrorists and criminals from getting nuclear weapons is to keep all weapons and materials, as well as the know-how to make and use them, secure. That is our first and best line of defense. We must also bolster our ability to detect smuggled material, recover
lost material, identify the materials origin and prosecute those who are trading in these materials.
The Nuclear Security Summit
Just as the United States is not the only country that would suffer from nuclear terrorism, we cannot prevent it on our own. The Nuclear Security Summit highlights the global threat posed by nuclear terrorism and the need to work together to secure nuclear material and prevent illicit nuclear trafficking and nuclear terrorism.
The leaders of 47 nations came together to advance a common approach and commitment to nuclear security at the highest levels. Leaders in attendance have renewed their commitment to ensure that nuclear materials under their control are not stolen or diverted for use by terrorists,
and 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. It promoted the international treaties that address nuclear security and nuclear terrorism and led to specific national actions that advanced global security.
The Summit Communiqué is a high-level political statement by the leaders of all 47 countries to strengthen nuclear security and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism and:
Endorses President Obama’s call to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years, and pledges to work together toward this end;
Calls for focused national efforts to improve security and accounting of nuclear materials and strengthen regulations – with a special focus on plutonium and highly enriched
Seeks consolidation of stocks of highly enriched uranium and plutonium and reduction in the use of highly enriched uranium;
Promotes universality of key international treaties on nuclear security and nuclear terrorism;
Notes the positive contributions of mechanisms like the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, to build capacity among law enforcement, industry, and technical
Calls 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
Seeks to ensure that bilateral and multilateral security assistance would be applied where it can do the most good; and
Encourages nuclear industry to share best practices for nuclear security, at the same time making sure that security measures do not prevent countries from enjoying the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy.
The Work Plan
The Summit Work Plan represents guidance for national and international actions to carry out the pledges of the Communiqué. This detailed document lays out the specific steps that will need to be taken to bring the vision of the Communiqué into reality. These steps include:
Ratifying and implementing treaties on nuclear security and nuclear terrorism;
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
Converting civilian facilities that use highly enriched uranium to non-weapons-usable
Research on new nuclear fuels, detection methods, and forensics techniques;
Development of corporate and institutional cultures that prioritize nuclear security;
Education and training to ensure that countries and facilities have the people they need to protect their materials; and
Joint exercises among law enforcement and customs officials to enhance nuclear
In addition to signing on to the Communiqué and Work Plan, many Summit Participants have made commitments to support the Summit either by taking national actions to increase nuclear security domestically or by working through bilateral or multilateral mechanisms to improve security globally. These 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 outlined in National Statements.
In preparation for the Summit, each participating entity named a ―Sherpa‖ to prepare their leadership for full participation. This cadre of specialists, each of whom has both the expertise and leadership positions in their countries to effect change, is a natural network to carrying out the goals of the Summit. The Sherpas plan to reconvene in December to evaluate progress against Summit goals. Additionally, Summit participants plan to reach out to countries who were not able to attend the Washington Summit to explain its goals and outcomes and to expand the dialogue among a wider group. In 2012, leaders will gather again—this time the Republic of Korea—to take stock of the post-Washington work and set new goals for nuclear security.