The Nuclear Security Summit is coming to a close, with representatives from all 47 nations present signing off on a communiqué pledging to – within four years — secure and dispose of all vulnerable fissile materials such as highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium that could be used to make nuclear weapons.
A communiqué is a political document that isn’t legally binding, but this one includes commitments to join legally binding treaties and initiatives, such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the G-8’s Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
“Some countries are signing that today, some have to go back home and work in through their systems,” a national security official told ABC News.
Basic agreements of the communiqué – which you can read HERE – include consolidating and/or getting rid of the fissile materials; joining existing treaties and initiatives requiring greater security of nuclear materials; pledging more resources for the International Atomic Energy Agency; and establishing best practices and standards for the use and storage of fissile material.
Countries agree to request and provide assistance as necessary; as part of that, the US has also entered into bilateral agreements with countries such as the Ukraine, Canada, and Mexico to help them dispose of their highly enriched uranium.
Each individual country is supposed to come up with its own plan; the US plan – which can be read HERE – commits to closing the country’s six remaining highly-enriched-uranium-fueled reactors, replacing them with ones that use low enriched uranium fuel. It also reiterates the US-Russian agreement, signed today, to eliminate 34 metric tons of plutonium each from their weapons programs—enough material for approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons.