Commitment to global partnership. The Nuclear Security Summit has ended in Seoul
Mar 28. Kazpravda. Seoul
By Vladimir Kuryatov
The summit adopted a final communique, which stated the goals securing physical nuclear safety and preventing illicit nuclear trafficking. With political will, it was stressed at the summit, the set goals are attainable. The leaders of Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States have signed a joint statement, which confirms success of the trilateral cooperation in liquidating the repercussions of the testing at the former Semipalatinsk nuclear range.
On the days of the Summit, Seoul was particularly busy, hosting presidents and prime ministers from 53 countries, representatives of the UN, European Union, the IAEA and Interpol. Tight security measures were provided. But the controls were not onerous as it might seem. Despite the huge number of participants (more than four thousand reporters alone) in the lobby of the exhibition center COEX, hosting the forum, there were no queues, and with advanced security system and automatic identification even a passport was not required at the inspection.
The discussions focused on international cooperation in strengthening nuclear security, arising from the provisions of the Communiqu? and Action Plan adopted at the summit in Washington in 2010. A new topic on the agenda was a radiological and nuclear safety in light of the Fukushima disaster, which President Nursultan Nazarbayev touched upon in his speech at the opening of the first working meeting.
He expressed appreciations to Barack Obama for initiating the nuclear security summit, and to the President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-bak for the invitation and excellent organization. As noted, two years after the last meeting in Washington DC, were filled with significant events in the global nuclear security: the Review Conference on NPT in 2011, secondly a large amount of highly enriched uranium annihilated in the world in these two years, over 30 states have adopted commitment to nuclear safety, thirdly, the Conference on Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, Astana was hosting in 2010.
It has been 20 years since Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was closed down, and as part of long-term cooperation to improve its physical security, Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States set a model of partnership based on mutual trust. Kazakhstan has implemented an unprecedented project on transportation of 210 tons of nuclear waste for safe storage, N.Nazarbayev went on.
– Besides, the partners continue work on the establishment of a regional nuclear security training centre; together with the IAEA a unique automated system for accounting, control and physical protection of natural uranium is being created.
Kazakhstan joined the G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. We ratified amendments were to the Convention on physical protection of nuclear material and urge all the participants of the Seoul Summit to take steps to their speedy ratification too, so that they take effect by the year 2014,” Nursultan Nazarbayev added.
It should be said for our President, his call found response and reflection in the final communiqu?.
From Chicago to Fukushima
– Atom, even if it is peaceful, requires a responsible approach. The world’s first nuclear reactor was created 70 years ago at the University of Chicago. Since then, the world has seen 60 different accidents, the last one – at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Hence, N.Nazarbayev emphasized in this regard, the nuclear power should be developed solely under absolute guarantees of safety, based on three main principles.
First – universality. Adoption of legally binding standards of nuclear safety is needed, generalization and codification of the gained international-legal experience in the development of peaceful nuclear energy.
Second – Transparency and Efficiency. Along with a full and prompt notification of any incidents at nuclear facilities it is necessary to develop clear mechanisms for rapid response to emergencies.
Third – Equality and Trust. All the states should be granted equal rights for access to peaceful nuclear technologies, as well as possibility to use guaranteed supplies of the International Bank of low enriched uranium. Work with IAEA on deployment of an international low-enriched uranium bank in Kazakhstan has embarked on a practical stage. This is our country’s contribution to strengthening of non-proliferation regime and nuclear disarmament.
The Kazakh leader also suggested the summits on nuclear security were held every two years, and one of them- in Astana.
Our country welcomes the entry into force of the Treaty on the Reduction of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) between the U.S. and Russia, and supports a new nuclear strategy of President Barack Obama in the part of non-use of nuclear weapons against states complying with the NPT.
Nursultan Nazarbayev has called upon all nuclear states to show the same goodwill. It was noted that the erosion of the NPT regime, unfortunately, has become a reality, and the uncontrolled expansion of the nuclear states remains one of the biggest threats of the XXI century.
Some states view possession of nuclear arms as a safety factor, but, he argued it is sustainable economic and social development that gives real security guarantee, taking into account Kazakhstan’s experience.
In connection with this he suggested applying most severe international measures, down to isolation and boycott of the country, which was first to use nuclear weapons. At the same time the nuclear powers should provide security guarantees to the states that refused from nuclear weapons, confirmed by the UN.
– Adoption of the Universal Declaration of the Nuclear-Free World would be an important step towards the Nuclear Weapons Convention, the Kazakh President added.
Price of the matter – a hundred thousand bombs
Supporting N.Nazarbayev, Lee Myung-bak called the spread of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear terrorism a major challenge to humanity. Building of a nuclear- free world, he said, is a lasting process. However, in the presence of a common political will such a world is achievable. First we need to ensure physical safety of materials that could serve to make nuclear weapons. On the planet, said the Korean President, there are 1600 tons of highly enriched uranium and 500 tons of plutonium, enough to build 100 thousand atomic bombs. – We need to prevent nuclear material from falling into terrorists’ hands, – he underscored.
These measures are paramount, B.Obama believes: the nuclear materials, enough to produce a large number of nuclear weapons are stored without a proper protection.
There are more than 130 reactors that use highly enriched uranium, some of them in developing countries. No one will give an absolute guarantee of the nuclear materials’ safety. That is why we are in need of synergic efforts to ensure nuclear safety.
As the U.S. President said, the leaders of more than 50 states sat at the negotiating table not for discussion, but for action.
– This summit will result in new commitments, more real and tangible steps – said Obama.
The communique in this regard states the need for all countries using nuclear power to declare by the year 2013 specific actions designed to minimize the use of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.
During the meeting Hu Jintao detailed on the China’s policy of nuclear safety and put forward several proposals aimed at sustainable development of nuclear power, tighter international interaction to improve nuclear safety and combat nuclear terrorism.
Other participants of the forum spoke behind closed doors, then followed briefings and bilateral meets.
Presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States, who adopted a joint statement on cooperation at the former Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) came out for the media briefing.
Nursultan Nazarbayev reminded that for several years, Kazakhstan, Russia and the U.S. have been working together to eliminate repercussions of the nukes on the Semipalatinsk range and thanked the partners for this help.
Dmitry Medvedev thanked Nursultan Nazarbayev for his active position and help in the field of nuclear disarmament.
– Summits are held not only in order to meet, shake hands, express good intentions, but also to showcase concrete examples of cooperation, – said the Russian President. The joint work at eliminating the effects of the Semipalatinsk test site is one of them.
And Barack Obama made a note of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s and the Kazakhstanis’ outstanding contribution to nonproliferation. The work at the Semipalatinsk test site is nearing completion, and as noted in the joint statement, the security level there has increased significantly.
In the forum’s sidelines yesterday N.Nazarbayev was in several bilateral meets. With President of Finland Sauli Niynist trade-economic and innovation-technological cooperation was discussed, with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy- cooperation in trade, construction and development of the railway industry. Nursultan Nazarbayev invited the Spanish PM to visit Kazakhstan at any convenient time, and the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili invited N.Nazarbayev to visit Tbilisi. Current issues in international relations were talked over with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Roadmap for a nuclear-free world
The Final Communique of the Seoul Summit addresses, apart from the above-mentioned aspects, a safe, reliable and timely removal and disposal of nuclear materials from the facilities where they are no longer used.
Closure of the world’s first fast BN-350 breeder reactor in Aktau on the agreement between Kazakhstan, Russia, the United States and the IAEA can serve as a model to other states. Waste disposal and conservation of the Soviet-times reactor was a must as the plutonium that remained there was posing a potential danger. There was enough nuclear material there to make … 775 nuclear warheads. The implemented project minimized the threats and risks. Other sensitive initiatives have been implemented.
The document addresses other important aspects of international cooperation and it contains an appeal to states to possibly increase voluntary contributions to the IAEA’s nuclear security fund and reaffirms the IAEA’s key role.
World leaders supported the extension of the program on Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction after 2012. IAEA proposal was supported to conduct an international conference on nuclear security the following year.
International efforts need be pooled in the field of nuclear forensics – another proposal of the summit.
It is also proposed to establish national inventories of highly radioactive sources, to refine the legal framework for management of radioactive sources, to establish training centers on nuclear security in different countries.
Seven billion-worth contracts
In the Forum’s frames a symposium on nuclear safety and a summit on nuclear industry took place, attended by leaders of “Kazatomprom” and the National Nuclear Center of Kazakhstan.
The meeting of Kazakhstan- Korean Business Council for strategic cooperation resulted in the signing of commercial contracts worth $ 7 billion. Among the endorsed projects is construction of the Balkhash thermal power plant that will open about a thousand jobs and bring energy independence to our country in the long run.
A MoC was signed between the “Samruk-Energo” and the Hyundai corp., an agreement on setting up a JV to build an integrated chemical complex in Atyrau region, a memorandum of agreement for the construction of hydroelectric Kyzylbulak HPP between LLP «ZHERSU» and Nuclear Engineering Corporation of Korea (KONES) and others.
A business forum was also held, attended by 150 businessmen of both countries, the upshot of which was 10 signed agreements.