International nuclear agency IAEA should play central role
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 coun- tries 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-of-mass-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.
Sergey Lavrov is the foreign minister of the Russian Federation.
The Washington Times