The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Cover Stories Series 2013> Efforts on Nuclear Safety> Archive
UPDATED: March 26, 2012 NO. 13 MARCH 29, 2012
Safeguarding Nuclear Development
The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit advances the nuclear security and safety agenda amid numerous challenges
By Teng Jianqun

EXERCISE: Members of the French nuclear rapid response team take part in an emergency drill at the Cruas Nuclear Power Station in Ardeche in south France in October 2011 (SHU SHI)

Representatives from more than 50 countries and four international organizations—the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the EU and the International Criminal Police Organization—attended the Second Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul on March 26-27.

They met at a time when the horrors of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last year continue to haunt the world and deadlock over the North Korean nuclear issue persists. Against this backdrop, the summit, originally designed to address the threat of nuclear terrorism, took on broader dimensions.

Slow progress

Since the Cold War came to an end in the early 1990s, nuclear terrorism has been one of the most pressing security concerns of the United States. In April 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama put forward his vision of a nuclear-free world in a speech in Prague. He said the international community should make new efforts to deal with nuclear terrorism and ensure the security of nuclear materials and related facilities. A year later, the United States hosted the First Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. with the aim of making nuclear security a global concern.

The United States insisted that the summit focus on nuclear terrorism, fissile material protection and the prevention of illegal trade in radiological substances, while the topics of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were excluded. It invited only countries with high stakes in international nuclear security to the summit in the belief that it would be easier to reach consensus with these countries.

The summit also showed Washington's other purposes. In addition to combating nuclear terrorism—the common challenge of the international community, Washington tried to make its own initiatives international rules. It also wanted to promote U.S.-dominated arms control policies worldwide. Moreover, it intended to strengthen cooperation with other countries, especially big powers such as Russia, China and the EU, to gain their support politically, economically and technically.

In a joint communiqué, participants of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit declared that nuclear terrorism is one of the most challenging threats to international security, and strong nuclear security measures are the most effective means to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear materials. They also adopted a work plan, which included agreements on more than 50 specific nuclear security cooperation measures in 11 fields. The summit met Washington's expectations, as it thrust U.S. nuclear security concerns into the global spotlight.

But since views on nuclear terrorism vary greatly from country to country, agreements reached in Washington have not been effectively implemented in the last two years. For some countries, the task of fissile material protection is not as urgent as the United States and Russia. Efforts in Mexico, Russia and the United States to convert research reactors fueled by highly enriched uranium to use low enriched uranium have been unsuccessful due to technical and financial reasons.

1   2   Next  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Related Stories
-Foreign Policy and External Relations
-Playing the Blame Game
-Strategic Transparency
-Toward a Nuclear Future
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved