Teams of international experts will evaluate the effectiveness of individual countries’ nuclear security measures, and international guidelines on the protection of nuclear materials will be translated into national legislation. 35 countries have pledged to participate in this initiative at the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS2014) in The Hague.
Frans Timmermans, Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs: “All countries participating in the Summit are aware of their national but also international responsibilities and are committed to enhance global nuclear security. This is why the voluntary guidelines of the IAEA and the IAEA peer review service are so important. The countries of the Strengthening Initiative are taking a step further. They are committed to build a firm and effective foundation of physical protection of nuclear and other radioactive materials that can be used for malicious purposes.”
In addition to the general agreements made at NSS2014
These pledges are in addition to the general agreements made at NSS2014. These new commitments are the outgrowth of an initiative by the 3 NSS chairs: the United States (2010), South Korea (2012) and the Netherlands (2014). 32 other countries have signed on to this initiative.
From guidelines to law
Member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are not obliged to follow the Agency’s guidelines on the protection of nuclear material, but once countries incorporate the guidelines into national legislation, compliance with IAEA rules becomes mandatory – for government, the private sector and the research community alike. Over 30 countries have pledged to incorporate these IAEA guidelines into national law.
Independent expert assessment
These countries have also pledged to allow teams of international experts to evaluate their security procedures for nuclear material. The admission of external experts is a powerful tool. It guarantees that security will be assessed on the basis of international standards and ensures the effectiveness of the measures taken. Countries generally follow the experts’ recommendations because otherwise the impression could arise that their security practices are not up to standard. A system like this also serves to boost international confidence in other countries’ measures, so there is greater certainty that terrorists will not be able to obtain nuclear material.
The following countries have committed themselves to these far-reaching agreements:
Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Vietnam.