International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts
Director General, Mr President,
We know that terrorism, including nuclear terrorism, does not respect borders. We also know that nuclear arsenals and unsecured nuclear materials are threatening to undermine our non-proliferation efforts and global security. The question is therefore what we can do with this. Let me outline five points of importance according to the Norwegian government:
Firstly, nuclear security is – and must remain – a national responsibility through establishing the necessary legislation. However, it is our collective responsibility to provide the necessary international framework to ensure the safe and secure handling of nuclear material, and to prevent such material from falling into the wrong hands. In the face of nuclear terrorism we must act together.
Secondly, nuclear security cannot be dealt with in isolation. Our efforts must be linked to the non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament work. Fewer nuclear weapons mean better nuclear security – and less risk of proliferation. We have to make sure that nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation are dealt with in a coordinated manner to minimise the risks.
We have taken steps at home: Over the last few years, Norway has improved the physical security at our nuclear sites. We are also in the process of requesting a new International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission from the IAEA to Norway. In addition, we have reassessed the justification for using high-activity radioactive sources in blood irradiators in hospitals. These will be gradually replaced with safer x-ray technology.
The Norwegian Government has also worked consistently to minimise the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU). Last year Norway, together with Austria, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the IAEA, co-hosted the 2nd International Symposium on HEU Minimisation here in Vienna. There has been progress in the minimisation of civilian HEU. Around 95 per cent of the world’s HEU is to be found in military stockpiles. But regardless of whether HEU is used in the civilian or military sector, we must find ways of addressing its use, security and non-proliferation in a more transparent manner than has been the case so far. Mr President, let me assure you of Norway’s continued efforts in this regard.
Thirdly, I would like to stress the importance of regional collaboration on nuclear security. Norway has for a long time enjoyed close collaboration with the other Nordic countries. For more than 20 years Norway has worked closely with Russia on nuclear safety and cleaning up the Cold War’s nuclear legacy. This collaboration has resulted in improved securing of nuclear materials in Cold War-era submarines, and the removal of high-activity radioactive sources used to power lighthouses. Many other nations have also been involved in this important work. We are currently collaborating with Russia and Sweden on enhancing the physical security related to transportation of spent nuclear fuel. Norway has also worked with new EU Member States on improving nuclear safety and security in the context of the EEA and Norway Grants the last five years.
Fourthly, we must intensify our global efforts. While the commitment to nuclear security has been confirmed at the highest political level, progress is slow in adhering to the 2005 amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Therefore Norway calls upon all states to sign and ratify the global conventions on nuclear security, and to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the implementation. We must also ensure that IAEA is given the necessary resources to fulfil its tasks. Ensuring nuclear security is a core Agency task. It should thus be funded over the regular budget. Norway has in the meantime provided USD 5 million to the establishment of the IAEA’s fuel bank as well as NOK 28 million (equivalent to USD 4.7 million) to the IAEA’s efforts to increase security at nuclear facilities in developing countries.
While we consider the IAEA to be the corner stone of international nuclear security cooperation, Norway is also participating actively in complementary efforts such as the Nuclear Security Summit process. We support nuclear security through international forums such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and we provide funding for the efforts to ensure full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540.
The high level of attendance at this conference confirms the heightened global attention to nuclear security. We also see this tendency in the Nuclear Security Summit process. Sustained international cooperation and greater commitment on the part of IAEA member states are still necessary.
Fifthly: We still need a highly competent, professional and effective IAEA. The IAEA must remain the primary instrument of the international community both for ensuring that nuclear materials are used in the safest and securest way possible and for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.