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2016 Nuclear Security Summit-related Activity Picks Up

March 29, 2016

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Nuclear Security Summit-related events and initiatives ramped up Tuesday, as senior Obama Administration officials briefed reporters on Summit plans, U.S. senators called on President Obama to step up his commitment to nuclear security during his remaining time in office, Nobel Laureates pressed for more technical work to reduce reliance on dangerous nuclear and radiological materials, and experts held a panel discussion on measures that can be adopted to increase security in the Middle East.

 

  • At the Foreign Press Center in Washington, the State Department’s Rose Gottemoeller, the Energy Department’s Liz Sherwood-Randall, the Department of Homeland Security’s Huban Gowadia and Laura Holgate from the White House outlined the many steps that have been taken in the United States and globally to tighten security around nuclear materials since the summits began in 2010. After this week’s Summit, “we will continue to press forward with these efforts” because the work is never done, Gottemoeller said.

 

  • Six Senate Democrats – Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray, Edward Markey, Jeffrey Merkley, Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren – issued a letter to the president urging him to “redouble efforts to reduce global nuclear weapons threat and proliferation risks.” The senators praised the Obama Administration for securing last year’s agreement with Iran and urged the president to work to increase capacity and resources at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), press for Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and cooperate with Russia on materials security and further arms reductions.

 

  • In a separate letter to world leaders released by the Federation of American Scientists, 35 Nobel Laureates from physics, chemistry, and medicine urged leaders attending #NSS2016 to commission technical studies on the transition from highly enriched uranium fuels to safer fuels for naval nuclear propulsions; devote resources to converting or shutting down HEU-fuelled research reactors over the next decade; and develop new technologies that do not use highly radioactive sources for blood and cancer treatments.

 

  • NTI and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) co-hosted a session seeking to identify measures that Middle Eastern countries can adopt to increase security in their region. Using the 2016 NTI Nuclear Security Index as a guide, NTI’s Michelle Nalabandian highlighted areas where countries in the region should build stronger nuclear security regimes before they pursue nuclear energy. Other panelists included: Nilsu Goren, a Turkish Ph.D. candidate at University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy; El Sayed Ghannam, an Egyptian career diplomat; Farzan Sabet, a Nuclear Security Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC); Or (Ori) Rabinowitz, an Israeli Chevening Scholar and a lecturer at the International Relations department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 

The NTI Summit Pop-Up Blog will be following events throughout the week.

We also encourage you to read and sign on to Call to Action on Nuclear Terrorism from more than 100 global political, diplomatic, business and military leaders, as well as top experts in nuclear security. The leaders and experts cite the progress resulting from four Nuclear Security Summits but warn: “The job is not done. The Summits are ending as the terrorist threat is growing.”

Sign on at www.nti.org/NoGreaterThreat and tweet or share with your social media networks.

For some new multimedia on the issue, check out the new interactive from Carnegie Corporation of New York, along with their excellent video, The Greatest Threat.