Monday, March 24, 2014

Nuclear Security Summits: An Obama Initiative

Today, as world leaders gather in The Hague for the third Nuclear Security Summit, it is important to note that these meetings were initiated by President Obama.
In his 2009 Prague speech, President Obama stated that nuclear terrorism “is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.” To mitigate this threat, the President urged that “we act with purpose and without delay,” announcing “a new international effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world” that would begin with “a Global Summit on Nuclear Security that the United States will host.”

By focusing high-level attention on the threat of nuclear terrorism, the Nuclear Security Summits are designed to energize, enhance, empower, and elevate the many existing multilateral, cooperative institutions and structures aimed at securing nuclear materials and preventing nuclear smuggling. In March 2010, nearly fifty heads of state gathered for the inaugural Summit in Washington, the largest gathering of world leaders since the founding of the United Nations. A second Summit was held in Seoul in 2012, a third is set to take place in The Hague in 2014, and as President Obama announced in Berlin in June 2013, his intention is to host a fourth Summit in the United States in 2016.
In terms of results from these summits, here's a summary:
According to research organizations that track Summit commitments, 95 percent of commitments made in Washington have been completed as of 2013. Tangible nuclear security achievements include:
  • Removal and/or disposition of over 2.8 metric tons of vulnerable HEU and plutonium material.
  • Completely removing HEU from 11 countries – Austria, Chile, the Czech Republic, Libya, Mexico, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, – and Hungary.
  • Verified shutdown or successful conversion to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel use of 24 HEU research reactors and isotope production facilities in 15 countries, including Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Completion of physical security upgrades at 32 buildings storing weapons-usable fissile materials.
  • Installation of radiation detection equipment at 250 international border crossings, airports, and seaports to combat illicit trafficking in nuclear materials.
This kind of progress is rarely noted when people talk about President Obama's accomplishments. But as VP Biden would say...its a BFD!

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this! From the first moment I heard Barack Obama speak on the Oprah Winfrey show I knew he was someone who knew how to Get. Stuff. Done. And nothing, absolutely nothing has been more important than this one thing that he's getting done. This is why I worked so hard to help get him elected.

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  2. Rachel Maddow did a show on just this subject and went to several countries and sites to see the facilities and did a great job. The progress that has been made it just phenomenal. Thank you for posting this information Nancy.

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