On March 27, 2012 Duyeon Kim, Deputy Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, was quoted in the Korea Herald about the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.
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Experts urge leaders to think globally about nuclear security
Nuclear security experts have called on governments to look beyond state lines to tackle nuclear terrorism threats and disasters at a global level.
Members of the Fissile Materials Working Group said it was time for states to look beyond their own individual commitments to the bigger picture as they moved on from the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit held on Monday and Tuesday.
“Nations are responsible, but they also have an international obligation and how you match those two things up hasn’t been tried and hasn’t really been worked on,” said Kenneth Luongo, co-chairman of the FMWG which advocates for stronger nuclear security efforts.
He added that international rules were not keeping up with the reality of nuclear energy growth, as demand surged along with the globe’s growing population.
“Nuclear power is going to grow in dangerous parts of the world, in particular in the Middle East where there is not a safety or security culture,” he said, adding that every individual nation currently dealt with nuclear security its own way. “There is nothing that requires countries to adhere to a uniform standard across borders and there is nothing that requires them to take specific actions that the International Atomic Energy Agency or any other body tells them to take.” And Miles Pomper, research associate at the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute, said: “The communique itself, I am not really expecting much out of.”
Also speaking on the summit sidelines Monday, Pomper blamed the summit document’s generic language for not binding countries to many commitments beyond what they had promised already.
While he praised some pledges such as the Belgian, Dutch, French and U.S. joint move to minimize their use of highly enriched uranium for medical isotopes, he said that other states were likely to disappoint.
“On the other hand, we are not going to see a commitment from Russia on any of the highly enriched uranium issues and Russia is really where a lot of the problem is. That is where there are a lot of facilities where the highly enriched uranium is in the world.
“They have been pretty good at taking material from other countries but they have done next to nothing about their own highly enriched uranium.”
The U.S., too, failed to ratify key international treaties ahead of the Seoul summit in spite of being the initiator of the series of three nuclear security summits, the final of which is expected to be held in the Netherlands in 2014.
Duyeon Kim, deputy director of nuclear non-proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation, said this summit’s success could be judged on progress made since the first summit in Washington in 2010, new actions pledged by state leaders, and how much money governments bring to the table to implement their commitments.
“Our understanding is that 90 percent of the national commitments (made in Washington) may have been completed but there is far more work that needs to be done,” she said.
By Kirsty Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)