The United States and China are stepping up their cooperation to impede nuclear proliferation and promote nuclear security.
On January 19th, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and China Atomic Energy Authority Chairman Chen Qiufa had signed a bilateral agreement to establish in China a Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security to promote effective nuclear security and safeguards.
The new center will provide a venue for training in all aspects of nuclear security. It will serve as a forum where experts from both countries can exchange technical information, discuss and share best practices, develop training courses, and promote technical collaborations that will enhance nuclear security in China and throughout Asia.
It will also help meet the training needs for China’s expanding civil nuclear sector and promote nuclear security best practices throughout the region.
A separate agreement, signed on the same day, is aimed toward countering the smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials in Asia. It provides for the establishment of a facility in Qinhuangdao, China, to provide training on detecting radioactive materials. The facility will be the first of its kind in the region.
During his 2009 speech in Prague, President Obama identified nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists as the "most immediate and extreme threat to global security."
His call to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide within four years was endorsed at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington by leaders from around the globe, including China, who recognize the threat of nuclear terrorism and the need to cooperate.
Preventing illicit transfers of nuclear materials is critical to implementing President Obama's goal of keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists.
"This agreement reflects the commitment of the two governments to strengthen their cooperation in nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear security, and in combating nuclear terrorism and represents a major step forward in implementing the global nuclear security vision outlined by our two Presidents at the Nuclear Security Summit last April," said Secretary Chu.
"We look forward to working with our partners in China to build this Center of Excellence, which will allow us to work together to improve nuclear security in China and throughout the region."