Int'l cooperation needed for global nuclear security

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SEOUL. March 25. KAZINFORM Two years after the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, leaders and representatives from 53 nations and four international institutions will gather here to discuss the response to nuclear terrorism, protection of nuclear materials and facilities as well as prevention of illegal trafficking of nuclear materials.

According to Xinhua, there is no doubt that concerted efforts of international society are needed for nuclear security, especially the security of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium. As part of the efforts, Seoul Nuclear Security Summit is to address the need to counter nuclear terrorism.

Analysts believe the Seoul Summit will focus on assessing the commitments agreed upon at the Washington Summit, laying out significant new national commitments to enhance nuclear material security and mapping out a work plan with a practical vision and implementation measures.

Following the nuclear accident at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, the safety of nuclear facilities and radiological safety will also be on the agenda.

NUCLEAR SECURITY HIGHLIGHTED

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) adopted by the United Nation in 2005 defined the following acts as criminal offenses and make them punishable through domestic penal law: the manufacture, possession, or the use of nuclear or radioactive material with an intent to cause serious physical injury, death or substantial damage to property or to the environment; and the use or damage of a nuclear facility in a manner that releases nuclear and radioactive material.

Comparing with the terrorism with conventional weapon, the possibility of nuclear terrorism is lower, yet its destructiveness is much more severe.

With ever-changing political and economic situations, the international society cannot afford neglecting the risk of illegal possession and trafficking of nuclear material.

According to the data released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there were more than 2,100 reports on cases of loss, stealing and illegal acquirement concerning nuclear and other radioactive material from 1993 to 2011 among its members. In 2010, two Armenians were arrested in Georgia when attempting to sell 18 grams of highly enriched uranium. In 2011, six smugglers were arrested in Moldova with 4.4 grams of HEU.

Moreover, extensive use of nuclear power and technology also aggravates the risk of nuclear material proliferation. In 2007, two armed teams attacked a nuclear facility in South Africa where hundreds of kilograms of HEU are stored. One team broke into the emergency control center, shot a worker and escaped.

To counter nuclear terrorism, the international society has made every effort to enhance nuclear security in the past years. Legal documents such as ICSANT and Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) have been adopted. During the Washington Summit, participating countries made 54 national commitments to improve nuclear security. The summit also issued a work plan with some 50 separate steps to be undertaken by participating nations.

Despite all these measures, there are still large amount of nuclear material lack of protection and vulnerable to terrorists worldwide.

The Seoul Summit aims to create consensus among participants to prevent nuclear materials from terrorists and to produce new action-oriented goals and measures in terms of management of nuclear and radioactive materials, the protection of nuclear facilities, the prevention of illicit trafficking, as well as issues concerning regulatory, policy-related, institutional, cultural and technical aspects of nuclear security.

The purpose of the summit is to advance such commitments from the level of political pledges to the level of action.

Details also at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-03/25/c_131487843.htm

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