Washington DC – March 21, 2014 – Press Release – On Monday and Tuesday, the leaders from fifty-three countries will meet in The Hague to advance progress on global nuclear materials security. The 2014 summit is the third such summit following the 2010 summit in Washington D.C. and the 2012 summit in Seoul, South Korea. The idea for the summit process was first presented by President Obama in his 2009 Prague address.
“The Administration deserves high praise for making nuclear security a top global priority and elevating this issue to the Head-of-State level. It’s no longer an issue managed only by mid-level bureaucrats but rather leaders with the power to take and commit to specific actions,” said Kingston Reif, Director of Non-Proliferation Programs. “Significant strides have been made pursuant to the four-year effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials, including the removal of all highly enriched uranium (HEU) or separated plutonium from 13 countries.”
“The President’s leadership, both domestically and internationally, has drawn much-needed attention to the importance of nuclear security and spurred countries around the world to take actions that will make America and the globe safer,” added Reif. “Despite impressive progress, significant security gaps remains and more work is needed to address them.”
As the U.S. delegation, including President Obama, prepares to depart for The Netherlands, the White House faces criticism for its recent FY 2015 budget request which slashed funding for key nuclear and radiological material security and nonproliferation programs at the Departments of Defense and Energy.
The request slashes nearly eighteen percent, compared to the FY 2014 enacted level, from core threat reduction and nonproliferation programs including the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and the International Materials Protection and Cooperation (IMPC) program. The request also reduces funding for the Cooperative Threat Reduction (also known as Nunn-Lugar) program by 27%.
“Due in large part to recent budget cuts, prior goals to shut down or convert 200 research reactors that still use highly enriched uranium and secure 8,500 buildings that house nuclear and radiological materials have slipped by 12 and 19 years, respectively,” said Reif. “In addition, the United States has failed to make good on its pledge at the 2010 and 2012 summits to ratify two key nuclear security treaties: the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT).”
“When President Obama returns from the Netherlands, he will need to work with Congress to increase the nuclear security budget and devote greater attention to securing Senate passage of critical implementing legislation for the two stalled nuclear security treaties,” added Reif.
####The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org