Ministers of 140 countries have adopted a declaration to enhance global nuclear security and counter the threat of nuclear terrorism.
During the week-long International Conference on Nuclear Security underway in Vienna until 14 February, member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen nuclear security from actors with malicious intents, including cyber terrorism.
IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said: “Nuclear and radioactive material is a magnet for groups with malicious intent that see in this material a possibility to create panic and bring distress and pain to our societies.”
Member states have also reaffirmed the common goals of nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear technology.
“We recognise that nuclear security contributes to international peace and security, and stress that progress in nuclear disarmament is critically needed and will continue to be addressed in all relevant fora,” said IAEA members in the ministerial declaration.
“We encourage member states to implement threat mitigation and risk reduction measures that contribute to improving nuclear security, including, but not limited to, ensuring the protection of nuclear and other radioactive materials and facilities.”
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According to the signatories, nuclear security remains each state’s individual responsibility but the organisation has a central role in facilitating and coordinating international cooperation.
Romanian foreign minister and co-president of the conference Bogdan Aurescu said: “The adoption of a declaration at ministerial level is indicative of the continuous commitment to nuclear security of IAEA Member States. It is a concise, politically driven and forward-looking document, adding value to the efforts of strengthening nuclear security worldwide.”
Founded in 1957, IAEA is an international organisation that promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy: 170 countries, including Iran and Turkey, are IAEA members.
This week’s ministerial conference follows two previous conferences, held in Vienna in 2013 and 2016 respectively. Since 2016, IAEA has invested in strengthening nuclear security on a global level through several resolutions, including the training of 13,000 experts and the donation of radiation detection kits to 33 countries.