With the Nuclear Security Summit (March 30-April 1) kicking off this week in Washington, D.C., it’s natural to ask, “Y” is nuclear security important?
A terrorist attack involving nuclear or radioactive material would of course be catastrophic, with global consequences. It is therefore critical to hinder terrorists’ access to nuclear material, technology and fissile fuel, which would enable them to produce dirty bombs.
In addition, it is important to continue the hard work that has already been done globally to help reduce the number of stockpiled nuclear weapons and warheads, and to strengthen efforts to avoid the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
I first worked on these important issues back in the 1980s as a young diplomat in Geneva, when I had the privilege of participating in international efforts to negotiate a multilateral agreement on the prohibition of production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. That agreement, the Chemical Weapons Convention, still stands out as one of the most important non-proliferation achievements since World War II.
Another important goal was set in Prague in 2009, where President Obama outlined “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons by strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.” The President addressed the need to reduce the stockpiling of nuclear weapons and called for increased international cooperation on nuclear security.
“Y” Norway Contributes to Nuclear Security
Norway has taken a strong international leadership position on efforts to reduce nuclear threats in many parts of the world.
For example, Norway gives high priority to concerns that nuclear facilities and other radioactive sources in an unstable Ukraine could fall into the wrong hands.
We also contributed substantially to the removal of chemical substances from war-torn Syria, where the cooperation between U.S. and Norwegian authorities was essential.
Norway also played a key role last December in the implementation of the so-called “Iran Deal” (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – JCPOA). For more details on that collaboration, see my blog post: https://the-y-indiplomacy.com/2015/12/29/the-iran-deal-norway-makes-a-difference/
And, since 1995, Norway has taken a lead role in financing and supporting nuclear security measures in Russia, particularly in the Kola peninsula, where Norway helped increase security at civilian nuclear power plants, and saw to it that nuclear fuel was removed from several decomissioned Russian submarines.
I am proud to have been a part of the Norwegian team that contributed to the removal of radioactive sources from the Cold War. Norway worked closely with our Russian and American counterparts, among them Senators Lugar and Nunn, to achieve these goals.
I experienced a similar sense of pride when Norway, in 2006, hosted an international conference in close collaboration with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). The conference was one of the first in which countries committed to replacing highly enriched uranium with natural uranium in all new nuclear reactors.
This is still an important and relevant issue, one that is deftly covered in the upcoming movie “Command and Control.” I highly recommend that movie as a solid introduction to today’s Nuclear Security Summit. At the summit, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg will be presenting an initiative to further minimize and eliminate the use of highly enriched uranium.
“Y” the Nuclear Security Summit Matters
This year’s summit, the fourth and final of President Obama’s administration, marks an important milestone and fulfills many of the goals the president outlined in his Prague speech seven years ago. Now, as world leaders gather in D.C., it is vital that we continue to build on our achievements and follow up on the work that remains to be done.
I can promise you that, as long as it remains a global issue, Norway will continue to be a driving force on nuclear security, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.