December 19, 2014
World leaders call for co-operation to prevent nuclear terrorism
World leaders have called for countries to cut their stocks of highly enriched nuclear fuel to the minimum to help prevent al Qaeda-style militants from obtaining material for atomic bombs.
Winding up a third nuclear security summit since 2010 and one overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis, leaders from 53 countries - including US President Barack Obama - said much headway had been made in the past four years.
But they also underlined that many challenges remained and stressed the need for increased international cooperation to make sure highly enriched uranium (HEU), plutonium and other radioactive substances do not fall into the wrong hands.
The United States and Russia set aside their differences over Crimea to endorse the meeting's final statement aimed at enhancing nuclear security around the world, together with other big powers including China, France, Germany and Britain.
"We encourage states to minimise their stocks of HEU and to keep their stockpile of separated plutonium to the minimum level, both as consistent with national requirements," said the communique, which went further in this respect than the previous summit, in Seoul in 2012.
A fourth summit will be held in Chicago in 2016. The summit process began in Washington in 2010.
Around 2,000 metric tons of highly-radioactive materials are spread across hundreds of sites in 25 countries. Most of the materials is under military control but a significant quantity is stored in less secured civilian locations, according to the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG).
Referring to a push to use low-enriched uranium (LEU) as fuel in research and other reactor types instead of the more proliferation-prone HEU, the summit statement said: "We encourage states to continue to minimise the use of HEU through the conversion of reactor fuel from HEU to LEU, where technically and economically feasible. Similarly, we will continue to encourage and support efforts to use non-HEU technologies for the production of radio-isotopes, including financial incentives."