IAEA seeks more funds after nuclear security summit

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations agency that plays a leading role in trying to stop terrorists getting their hands on nuclear materials is seeking greater funding to carry out its task following this week’s Washington summit on nuclear security.

The Vienna-based UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “needs stronger and more predictable funding to do its job better,” Director General Yukiya Amano, who attended the two-day summit convened by US President Barack Obama, said Wednesday “I am grateful to all those who have matched their words of support with much needed pledges to ensure that the IAEA has the resources it needs to make all of us more secure.”

In a communiqu issued following the Washington nuclear security summit, the 47 participating States reaffirmed “the essential role of the IAEA in the international nuclear security framework” and pledged to “work to ensure that it continues to have the appropriate structure, resources and expertise needed to carry out its mandated nuclear security activities.”

Amano thanked the attending leaders for their moral and political support. “I am pleased that the IAEA’s efforts to make nuclear facilities and borders more secure to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism are recognized at the highest levels of government,” he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who also attended the summit, has proposed a series of high-level meetings to flesh out efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, according to the UN news centre.

These include a conference to speed up universal adoption of the five-year-old International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which has so far been ratified by only 65 countries -barely a third of UN Member States.

Ahead of the summit, IAEA Office of Nuclear Security Director Anita Nilsson warned of the “real threat” that terrorists could construct a nuclear explosive or radiological dispersal device, a so-called dirty bomb, and use it.

Agency experts help countries protect their nuclear facilities and transport against sabotage or theft, offering specialised training and backing the installation of radiological monitoring equipment at border crossings.

In less than a decade, it has trained 9,000 experts in 120 countries on all aspects of nuclear security, improved facility security in 30 states, and supplied 3,000 detection instruments to more than 50 States, the center said.

Filed under: Terrorism

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