Nuclear Security Summit ends with whimper, not a bang (WASHINGTON TIMES) By Andrew Salmon SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA 03/28/12)
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SEOUL — The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit concluded Tuesday with
participating nations endorsing a range of measures to make the world
safe from nuclear terrorism.
But independent experts criticized the summit’s “modest” progress and
failure to include more binding agreements.
Summit host South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called the two-day
event a “milestone” and a gift to “children and grandchildren.”
The summit’s first day was dominated by sideline discussions on North
Korea, missile defense, Iran and Syria. But the second day got down
to official business — preventing nuclear cataclysms by nonstate
An 11-point document called the “Seoul Communique” noted the summit’s
successes, and outlined progress achieved since the inaugural 2010
Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
The communique set a target date of 2014 for countries to adopt an
amendment to the Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear
Materials that encourages minimizing the use of bomb-grade highly
enriched uranium in nuclear reactors.
• Increasing the powers and funds of the International Atomic Energy
• Improving nuclear forensics, the science that allows atomic
materials to be identified from their place of origin.
• Encouraging cooperation in information security and combating
• Enhancing safety in transporting nuclear materials.
“I’d not characterize these as small steps,” said U.S. Energy
Secretary Stephen Chu. “This is a very aggressive timetable, a lot of
action is happening, the world is becoming a safer place.”
Independent observers were more critical.
The Fissile Materials Working Group, a U.S.-based nonprofit
comprising 40 nonproliferation and nuclear security groups,
characterized the summit results as “modest,” and demanded bolder
The group said the current international nuclear security regime is a
patchwork of agreements signed by countries voluntarily, and so lacks
consistency, accountability or enforceability.
“This summit sounds like a program review: All we are getting are
briefings by bureaucrats on what they have been doing,” said Ken
Luongo, president of the Partnership for Global Security. “Technical
details at a political summit have their place, but it’s
insufficient. Where’s the vision?”
Miles Pomper, a senior research associate at the Monterey Institute
of International Studies, said that other countries “are not getting
a lot out of the Russians about what their commitments are at this
Mr. Pomper said he would have liked the Russians to announce they
were converting two of their reactors from highly enriched uranium to
More than 50 world leaders, including resident Obama, Russian
President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao, attended
the summit. (© 2012 The Washington Times, LLC. 03/28/12)
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