Achieving Accurate Count of All Fissile Material Stocks, Including Historical Production, Urgent Priority, Secretary-General Tells Seoul Security Summit

27 March 2012

Achieving Accurate Count of All Fissile Material Stocks, Including Historical Production, Urgent Priority, Secretary-General Tells Seoul Security Summit

27 March 2012
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Achieving Accurate Count of All Fissile Material Stocks, Including Historical

Production, Urgent Priority, Secretary-General Tells Seoul Security Summit


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit working lunch, today, 27 March:

I congratulate the Government of the Republic of Korea for hosting this Summit.  Mr. President, I salute your focus on the nexus of nuclear safety and security.

In the last year, I travelled to Fukushima.  I visited Chernobyl.  Those tragedies sent a clear and urgent message:  A nuclear accident can have consequences similar to a nuclear attack.

This point was emphasized at the high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security that I convened last year.  I am glad that that gathering served as a bridge to this Summit.

Today, I would like to set out five areas for collective action.  First, bold steps to bridge the trust gap.  Determining the appropriate energy mix is a decision of sovereign States.  But, nuclear safety and security is a global public good.  The general public has a right to know.

Governments and the nuclear industry must heed the growing demands for greater transparency, accountability and access to impartial information.  Nuclear power plants must be prepared to withstand everything from earthquakes to tsunamis, from fires to floods, to acts of terrorism.  Rebuilding trust is even more significant as nuclear power will continue to be an important resource for many nations in the years to come.

Second, emergency response, disaster risk reduction and resilience building.  Disaster risk reduction and preparedness for nuclear accidents featured prominently in the United Nations system-wide post-Fukushima study and at the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Let us utilize the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development to deepen our commitment.  We can reduce vulnerability to risks from natural and manmade disasters and strengthen resilience in the face of such disasters.  Member States have put disaster risk reduction and resilience squarely on the Rio+20 agenda and are calling for its integration into a future sustainable development agenda.

Third, boosting the role of the United Nations.  We are working through the Security Council and its 1540 Committee — and seeking greater action from the General Assembly and its United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.  The United Nations is also strengthening the link between the international humanitarian coordination system and the international radiation emergency response framework.  We are establishing the Environmental Emergencies Centre to fortify emergency preparedness and responses.  The centre will help countries in preparing for and responding to industrial and technological accidents, as well as the environmental impacts of natural disasters and complex emergencies.

Fourth, a stronger partnership with the nuclear industry and civil society.  I am pleased that the Korean Government and others organized the Seoul Nuclear Industry Summit and the Nuclear Security Symposium.  At the Nuclear Industry Summit, participants emphasized dealing with nuclear security and safety in a coordinated manner and identified new areas of focus, including cyber threats.  At the Nuclear Security Symposium, I sent a message stressing the importance of a holistic view of nuclear safety, nuclear security, nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.  We must seek to integrate the recommendations of these two vital meetings in our work.

Fifth, lastly, progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  Achieving an accurate accounting of all fissile material stocks, including historical production, remains an urgent priority.  Despite intense efforts, the Conference on Disarmament has not begun negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons.  This is unfortunate.  I support all efforts to carry forward negotiations and revitalize the Conference on Disarmament.

The final document of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference recognized the importance of addressing nuclear safety and nuclear security issues associated with nuclear energy and encouraged State parties to promote the sharing of best practices in these areas.  I have proposed that the First Preparatory Committee of the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference devote specific time to consider these issues.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.