March 30, 2016
Former Senator Sam Nunn kicked off the Nuclear Industry Summit 2016 early today with a speech urging industry leaders to step up work to improve security around some of the world’s most dangerous materials.
“The private sector provides a vital contribution to our society by supplying essential nuclear technology for the benefit of mankind and to help treat tens of millions of patients each year,” Nunn said. “We support strengthening the role of the private sector – and very much support your efforts at the Nuclear Industry Summits to raise awareness about these threats and the vital responsibility to secure these materials.”
Nunn praised Atlanta’s Emory Hospital, which will receive an award Thursday, for recently replacing a blood irradiator that contained Cesium-137, a radioactive source that could be stolen and used to build a dirty bomb, with an FDA-approved alternative technology. “I encourage more hospitals and research centers to follow Emory’s example,” Nunn said.
Nunn also appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, where he discussed global nuclear security efforts and answered questions about Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s recent comments about nuclear weapons and strategy.
At the NGO Summit, Solutions to Secure a Nuclear Future, NTI Vice Chairman Des Browne delivered the keynote address, praising NGOs for their commitment to global nuclear security and urging them to continue pressing governments to conduct the urgent work needed to prevent nuclear catastrophe.
“We live in uncertain times in an uncertain world,” Browne said. “If we allow terrorists to get their hands on nuclear or radiological materials, the effects will be seismic – and the damage won’t discriminate based on where the terrorists got the materials. It will be a collective failure, and we will all suffer the consequences. Barack Obama challenged the world to accept the special responsibility that goes with having and using dangerous materials. The end of his term in office and the end of the official summits cannot exonerate the rest of us from pushing ahead. We cannot walk away from this. Future generations will not forgive us if we fail to follow through on our collective responsibilities.”
NTI President Joan Rohlfing also weighed in Wednesday with a Huffington Post piece on the need for a path forward on nuclear materials security now that the official summit process is coming to an end.
“The 2016 summit must not mark the end of high-level attention to nuclear materials security. Instead, it’s our final window of opportunity to set a path for continued progress in a new phase of strengthened and lasting international cooperation,” Rohlfing wrote.