Seoul Sum­mit: A view from Moscow

In­ter­na­tional nu­clear agency IAEA should play cen­tral role

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion - By Sergey Lavrov

Rus­sia and the United States are the most ad­vanced states in terms of nu­clear en­ergy use. We have put an end to the Cold War and the arms race, in­clud­ing the nu­clear one. To­day, our coun­tries have taken a com­mon stand for the strength­en­ing of the nu­clear non­pro­lif­er­a­tion regime and have in­ten­si­fied their co­op­er­a­tion in com­bat­ing nu­clear ter­ror­ism.

Rus­sia expressed its full sup­port for the pro­posal to hold a nu­clear se­cu­rity sum­mit (NSS) put for­ward by Pres­i­dent Obama in 2009. The first sum­mit took place in 2010 in Washington. We reaf­firm our po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ments stated in its com­mu­nique. Rus­sia has signed and rat­i­fied the Con­ven­tion on the Phys­i­cal Pro­tec­tion of Nu­clear Ma­te­rial and its amend­ment, as well as the Con­ven­tion for the Sup­pres­sion of Acts of Nu­clear Ter­ror­ism, adopted by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity at Rus­sia’s ini­tia­tive. We call on other states that have not yet done so to ex­pe­dite the com­ple­tion of the nec­es­sary in­ter­nal pro­ce­dures for ac­ces­sion to these key in­ter­na­tional in­stru­ments.

Rus­sia and the United States co-spon­sored United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 1540, which was adopted unan­i­mously in 2004. Its aim was to cre­ate na­tional mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems with a view to pre­vent­ing nu­clear and other weapons-of­mass-destruc­tion-re­lated ma­te­ri­als from fall­ing into the hands of non-state ac­tors, in­clud­ing ter­ror­ists. To­gether with the U.S., we have launched the Global Ini­tia­tive to Combat Nu­clear Ter­ror­ism, which com­prises 82 states and serves as an ef­fi­cient in­stru­ment for co­op­er­a­tion and ex­change of best prac­tices ad­dress­ing the threat of nu­clear ter­ror­ism at the prac­ti­cal level and strength­en­ing global nu­clear se­cu­rity.

Rus­sia be­lieves that nu­clear se­cu­rity and safety mea­sures are tar­geted at the same ob­jec­tive — pro­tect­ing hu­man life and health and the en­vi­ron­ment. Af­ter the Fukushima tragedy in Ja­pan in 2011, the pres­i­dent of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion put for­ward the pro­pos­als on amend­ing the Con­ven­tion on Nu­clear Safety and the Con­ven­tion on Early No­ti­fi­ca­tion of a Nu­clear Ac­ci­dent and also on re­in­forc­ing In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) nu­clear se­cu­rity stan­dards. I am con­vinced that early ap­proval of these pro­pos­als will help avoid or min­i­mize pos­si­ble neg­a­tive con­se­quences of nu­clear ac­ci­dents in the fu­ture.

We are con­vinced that it is the IAEA that should play the cen­tral role in co­or­di­nat­ing states’ ef­forts to en­sure nu­clear se­cu­rity. We sup­port the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the IAEA Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Plan for 2010-2013, and also the agency’s pro­posal to hold an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on nu­clear se­cu­rity is­sues in 2013.

Rus­sia pro­vides as­sis­tance to the coun­tries that chose the peace­ful use of nu­clear en­ergy. Reg­u­lar cour­ses on nu­clear se­cu­rity are or­ga­nized in the In­ter­de­part­men­tal Spe­cial Train­ing Cen­ter in Ob­ninsk. At the up­com­ing sum­mit, we will put for­ward the ini­tia­tive on de­vel­op­ing the cul­ture of nu­clear se­cu­rity. We will pro­pose to or­ga­nize a work­shop on this is­sue for pro­fes­sion­als from the coun­tries em­bark­ing on the peace­ful use of nu­clear en­ergy this sum­mer in Rus­sia in co­op­er­a­tion with the IAEA.

Rus­sia has con­tin­ued to im­ple­ment the HEU Con­sol­i­da­tion and Con­ver­sion Pro­gram. Since 2010, 1,320 kilo­grams of un­needed highly en­riched uranium (equiv­a­lent uranium 235 con­tent) have been con­verted. We de­cided to ex­port only low-en­riched uranium fuel for re­search re­ac­tors. The Rus­sian-made re­search-re­ac­tor fuel repa­tri­a­tion pro­gram is be­ing im­ple­mented. Since the start of this pro­gram, the to­tal of 604 kilo­grams of fresh HEU and 986 kilo­grams of ir­ra­di­ated HEU has been repa­tri­ated from 14 coun­tries. We also plan to repa­tri­ate the fuel from Viet­nam, Ukraine and Uzbek­istan.

The Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion is firmly com­mit­ted to the goals of main­tain­ing and strength­en­ing nu­clear se­cu­rity. We are con­vinced that the Seoul sum­mit will be an im­por­tant step in this di­rec­tion, which is of great sig­nif­i­cance for the en­tire in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.


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