Athens, Ga. –International experts convened in Vienna, Austria, in January to discuss ways to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism and ensure the security of nuclear materials and facilities worldwide. Co-sponsored by the University of Georgia Center for International Trade and Security, the workshop yielded specific recommendations that have been submitted for a three-day meeting being held this week at The Hague—a meeting in preparation for April’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C.
The recommendations, which draw on the experience of more than 100 international nuclear security experts who attended the Vienna workshop, focus on the most critical areas in the existing international legal framework designed to strengthen nuclear security and combat nuclear terrorism. Included in the recommendations is a call for the accelerated ratification of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, which would create a legally-binding international standard for securing and transporting nuclear materials and safeguarding nuclear facilities.
“Nuclear security and combating nuclear terrorism is only as strong as its weakest link. Although many countries adhere to existing guidelines, all must join in to establish a comprehensive and legally-binding framework that cannot be evaded by terrorist or criminal elements, especially in this era of nuclear energy revival in so many parts of the world,” said Igor Khripunov, interim director of CITS. “Although elimination of nuclear weapons and materials for their development remains a long-term goal, ensuring the security of nuclear materials and facilities remains the only means we have for now to prevent a possible nuclear catastrophe.”
CITS is currently working on a summary of workshop findings and conclusions to be published in 2011.
More information is available at http://uga.edu/cits/.