Fukishima, Japan

15 December 2012

Secretary-General's message to the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety

I welcome this gathering of ministers in Fukushima to discuss the critical issue of nuclear safety. I thank the government of Japan for hosting, together with the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

You have an important opportunity to share knowledge and lessons learned, and to review progress made in strengthening nuclear safety following the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on 11 March last year. 

High-level attention to the issue of nuclear safety is essential. At the same time, nuclear safety must become an integral part of the culture in those countries that pursue the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

I commend the IAEA for cooperating with Japan to address radiation remediation and human health while leading efforts to improve nuclear safety worldwide.

This is a high priority for me. Following the Fukushima disaster, I convened a High-level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security. Participants emphasized strong support for the IAEA and recognized that nuclear safety cannot be effectively dealt with in isolation from nuclear security, non-proliferation and disarmament. 

Since then, I have sought to raise awareness about the nexus between nuclear safety and security. I am pleased that the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit recognized that these twin objectives must be pursued in a synergistic manner.

To maintain the momentum, earlier this year I convened a High-Level Meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism with a Specific Focus on Strengthening the Legal Framework.  Member States used the occasion to build support for new ways to ensure the effective implementation of key instruments, particularly the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Looking more broadly to the question of nuclear security, my five-point nuclear disarmament proposal emphasizes the importance of strengthening controls over nuclear materials, including those used for peaceful purposes, and notes that the fate of the nuclear fuel cycle will shape prospects for disarmament. 

I well remember my visit to Fukushima just months after the disaster. The clean-up and recovery efforts were impressive, but what inspired me most was the spirit of the survivors. More than attention to their own plight, they urged me to bring a message to the international community: that the disaster they endured should never again befall another community.

I have pledged to do everything possible to spread this message and realize this aspiration. In this spirit, I wish you a most successful meeting.