U.S. organize an international meeting on bolstering nuclear plant security

Published 8 December 2009

The fluctuation in oil prices and concerns about climate change have renewed interest in building nuclear power plants; this fact, and the fact that more nuclear material may become available as a result of deep cuts in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, increase worries about the safety of nuclear materials

Senior officials of countries that have nuclear power plants, or plan to build them, last Thursday affirmed the need to enhance protection against nuclear terrorism. The details will be worked out in a preparatory meeting for a Nuclear Security Summit next April, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. “A lot of international agreements, conventions, rules and guidelines (on nuclear security) are in place… How they can fully be implemented will be a big challenge,” the official said after the second such gathering, held in Tokyo, to prepare for the U.S.-initiated summit.

Breitbart reports that the United States is inviting to the summit in Washington forty-three countries and international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency. Non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty such as Israel, India, and Pakistan are also among the invitees.

While existing measures to address the risk of nuclear terrorism have achieved certain results, the threat remains as the number of countries that will introduce nuclear power plants is expected to increase in the future. Also, progress on nuclear disarmament could lead to an increase in nuclear and other radioactive materials that should be protected because nuclear materials will be extracted from dismantled nuclear weapons, according to the official.

The countries concerned are expected to hold additional sherpa meetings once or twice before the April summit meeting, the official said. During the meeting, some noted the importance of the role of business in achieving progress, while others said that enhancing nuclear security should not be seen as a way of imposing restrictions on the use of nuclear energy.