Green Cross International applauds next week’s convening of the third governmental Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), plus related civil society and industry events, the goals of which are to improve the security and safety of nuclear and radioactive materials in dozens of countries around the world to prevent their theft or diversion for nuclear or radioactive bomb-making by subnational terrorist groups.
The NSS is taking place in The Hague, Netherlands, over 24-25 March, while the complementary non-governmental Nuclear Knowledge Summit (NKS), and the Nuclear Industry Summit (NIS) are both being held in Amsterdam on 21-22 March and 24 March respectively.
Dr. Paul F. Walker, director of the Green Cross Environmental Security and Sustainability Programme, said: “With over 2,000 metric tons of nuclear bomb-grade material located around the world in commercial and military stockpiles, sufficient for some 80,000 more nuclear weapons, it is vitally important that we move beyond voluntary, ad hoc safety and security practices and recognize that minimum international standards for all nuclear facilities must be mandated and implemented soon.”
The Nuclear Security Summit was first convened by US President Barack Obama in Washington DC in 2010, with the second summit taking place in Seoul, South Korea in 2012.
A number of participating countries have begun minimizing highly enriched uranium and plutonium in energy and research reactors, developing training centers and programmes for security and safety, and improving border and customs security and monitoring systems.
More such initiatives will likely be announced next week in The Hague as over 50 Heads of State gather for the Summit.
Walker, who is participating in the Nuclear Knowledge Summit in Amsterdam, was recently recognized by the Right Livelihood Award Foundation for his work in helping abolish chemical weapons globally.
“Nuclear terrorism is one of the most dangerous threats of our time,” Walker said. “While voluntary practices such as the IPPAS (International Physical Protection Advisory Service) missions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are important, such efforts must be expanded and made binding on all nuclear-capable countries. Global security and sustainability in the 21st century demands no less.”