The FMWG Steering Committee includes the following experts, who can comment on nuclear security:
- Miles Pomper, Senior Fellow, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (Chair)
- Kenneth N. Luongo, President, Partnership for Global Security
- Irma Arguello, Founder and Chair, NPSGlobal Foundation
- Andrew Bieniawski, Vice President, Material Security and Minimization, Nuclear Threat Initiative
- Matthew Bunn, Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard University
- Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, Arms Control Association
- Sharon Squassoni, Director and Senior Fellow, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Paul Walker, Director, Security & Sustainability, Green Cross International
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Delivers Modest Results
Experts Call for Bolder Action to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism
The communiqué and commitments world leaders agreed to today at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit mark a modest but important step forward in the effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials around the globe. However, bolder action is needed to effectively counter the threat of nuclear terrorism, according to the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), an international coalition of nuclear security experts.
Duyeon Kim, deputy director of nuclear nonproliferation, at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, lauded the inclusion of the nuclear safety and security interface in the Communiqué in the aftermath of Fukushima that demonstrated that a Fukushima-like terrorist attack is plausible.
“Notable achievements [in the Communiqué] is a consensus on and vision for strengthening nuclear safety-security as well as raising the importance of radiological security since the 2010 Summit,” Kim said. “Not only did world leaders acknowledge the overlap between nuclear safety and security, but they’ve agreed that the measures need to be incorporated in all stages including effective emergency preparedness. It’s an extremely significant first step but the key is implementing and sustaining measures that strengthen the nuclear safety-security nexus beyond 2014 as long as we opt for nuclear power to meet our energy needs.”
“Also, setting a target date to announce each country's plans on minimizing the civilian use of HEU by the end of 2013 is a positive step forward but so far it's an 'encouragement' to do so and the key is in the details, which are unclear."
By the end of the four-year effort, there will be major progress in reducing the risk of nuclear theft and terrorism, said Matthew Bunn, co-principal investigator of the Managing the Atom Project at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and FMWG Steering Committee member.
“But we won't be done — keeping nuclear materials out of terrorist hands will require a culture of continual improvement sustained as long as nuclear weapons and the materials needed to make them continue to exist,” Bunn said. "With at least two and probably three major terrorist groups having pursued nuclear weapons over the last 20 years, we cannot expect they will be the last,” Bunn said. “Despite the death of Osama bin Laden, the world is likely to be confronting the danger of nuclear terrorism as long as nuclear weapons and the materials needed to make them continue to exist."
Post-summit reactions from other FMWG members include:
- Alexandra Toma, FMWG co-chair and executive director of the Connect U.S. Fund: "Leaders should be proud of what's been accomplished to date, but they must also be realistic that global nuclear security cannot be accomplished in four years, as they originally agreed. A challenge as great as global nuclear terrorism requires constant vigilance and further improvements to the current system, which still remains a patchwork of voluntary agreements. Let's keep momentum going through the 2014 Summit in the Netherlands and beyond."
- Sico van der Meer, research fellow, Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael: "Improving global nuclear security is a long-term process, the problem will not be solved in only a few years. This is why the Netherlands is fully committed to organize the third Nuclear Security Summit in 2014. These high-level summits are the best guarantee to retain international attention."
- Sharon Squassoni, director and senior fellow, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, “The Seoul meeting demonstrates that summit diplomacy can only accomplish so much. States should use the time between now and the next summit to identify and target additional gaps in protection against nuclear terrorism as a high priority.”
- Nobuyasu Abe, director of the Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-proliferation at the Japan Institute of International Affairs: “A willful and targeted act of terrorism would be more vicious than the natural disasters that may hit nuclear power stations or spent fuel storages. There is no unilateral solution to the shared global threat posed by nuclear terrorism. More countries must be enlisted in this truly global endeavor. Our best defense is a strong, united front to prevent nuclear terror."