U.S. teams have worked with governments around the world to remove highly enriched uranium and plutonium from vulnerable sites.
In a world faced with rapidly rising energy demands, the need for clean energy is growing. Nuclear energy, said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the recent International Conference on Nuclear Security, “can and should be part of the solution.” But, he cautioned, “we must also address the challenges of nuclear security.”
The United States has long worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, and the rest of the international community to enhance nuclear security. In order to provide high-level attention on the need to improve nuclear security world-wide, President Obama initiated a series of Nuclear Security Summit meetings beginning in Washington in 2010.
U.S. nuclear security teams have worked with governments around the world to remove 1,340 kilograms of highly enriched uranium and 35 kilograms of plutonium from vulnerable sites. The U.S. also continues to work with Russia to down-blend highly enriched uranium from Russian weapons.
Along with the international community, the United States has improved the security and physical protection of facilities storing nuclear radioactive materials, enhanced the secure transport, and improved global capacity to combat the illicit trafficking of these materials.
Nevertheless, the threat of nuclear terrorism remains very real, said Dr. Moniz. Strengthening global nuclear security is one of the most important ways to reduce this threat and the IAEA plays a unique role in pursuing that goal. The United States calls on IAEA member states to recommit to a stronger nuclear security architecture. The United States also remains committed to support the IAEA’s efforts to develop international standards on nuclear and radiological security.
Working with the IAEA, the United States and our international partners have made substantial progress in nuclear security, but continued vigilance and increased focus is required to ensure that nuclear weapons do not spread and are not used. President Obama reiterated this message when he recently announced his intentions to pursue up to a one-third reduction in deployed strategic warheads below the levels set forth in the New START Treaty and to host a fourth Nuclear Security Summit in 2016.
The United States, as Energy Secretary Moniz said, “is committed to fostering the safe and secure contribution of nuclear power to the global energy mix, to taking concrete actions that eliminate nuclear weapons stockpiles, and to controlling nuclear and radiological materials.”