2012 Nuclear Security Summit

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2012 Nuclear Security Summit
Host country  South Korea
Date March 26–27, 2012
Venue(s) COEX Convention & Exhibition Center
Cities Seoul
Participants 58 representatives
Follows 2010 Nuclear Security Summit
Precedes 2014 Nuclear Security Summit
Website thenuclearsecuritysummit.org
Participating world leaders at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit
2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Plenary

The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit was a summit held at the COEX Convention & Exhibition Center in Seoul, South Korea,[1] on March 26 and 27, 2012.[2] It was the second edition of the conference after the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit.

The importance of planning for the conference was clarified when American President Barack Obama explained his view that "we have the opportunity, as partners, to ensure that our progress is not a fleeting moment, but part of a serious and sustained effort.[2]

The "2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit", is the largest summit in the security field that discusses international cooperative measures to protect nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups, with participation from more than 53 heads of state and international organizations. The main issues to be discussed at the Summit were as follows:[3]

  • Cooperative measures to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism
  • Protection of nuclear materials and related facilities
  • Prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear materials

Fifty-eight world leaders from 53 states and four international organizations, including the United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Union and INTERPOL, have participated in the Summit.

At the summit, the leaders discussed about the nuclear terrorism threats and nuclear security preparedness. They also reviewed the implementation of agreements and voluntary commitments. Then the leaders focused on major nuclear security issues, mostly brought up at the Washington summit, such as the minimization and management of highly enriched uranium, ratification of nuclear security conventions, strengthening information and transportation security, IAEA’s role, preventing illicit nuclear trafficking, nuclear security culture, and international cooperation and assistance.

In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in March 2011, Korea took the initiative of adding two new issues of radiological security and nuclear security-safety interface to the agenda. The Washington summit had focused on nuclear terrorism with explosive nuclear devices, perceiving that as the biggest threat to international security.

The 2012 Seoul summit discussed protection against dirty bombs or the sabotage of nuclear facilities. The Seoul summit also discussed the integration of nuclear security and safety.

Some states initially opposed these two items, claiming that they would “dilute” the focus of the summit. To the contrary: Their inclusion helps make more countries willing participants in the summit since radiological terrorism or nuclear safety are more palpable threats than nuclear bomb terrorism.[4]


The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington D.C. on April 12 and 13, 2010. U.S. President Obama, who proposed the Nuclear Security Summit in his April 2009 Prague speech, invited 47 heads of states and three representatives of international organizations. In the Prague speech, President Obama announced his vision for a ‘world without nuclear weapons’ and proposed nuclear security as one of three strategic goals for this vision together with nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. President Obama also announced a nuclear security goal to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years.

During the Washington summit, Korea was designated as the second summit host by Present Obama and this proposal was greeted by all participants. This decision reflects the recognition of Korea’s increasing global presence by international society.[5]

The selection of Korea as host of the 2012 Summit reflects the international community's recognition of its world-class nuclear technology, its compliance with NPT obligations and its exemplary use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The hosting of the Nuclear Security Summit on the Korean peninsula will be highly significant given its implications within the context of denuclearization.[6]


  Host nation (South Korea)
  Participating nations
  European Union members represented by the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission only
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak speaks to the media during a press conference after the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit at the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX) in Seoul, South Korea, 27 March 2012.
Barack Obama talks with President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine
Country/Organization Representative(s)
 Algeria Bouteflika, AbdelazizAbdelaziz Bouteflika (President)
 Argentina Timerman, HectorHector Timerman (Minister of Foreign Affairs)
 Armenia Sargsyan, SerzhSerzh Sargsyan (President)
 Australia Gillard, JuliaJulia Gillard (Prime Minister)
 Azerbaijan[7] Aliyev, IlhamIlham Aliyev (President)
 Belgium Milquet, JoëlleJoëlle Milquet (Deputy Prime Minister)
 Brazil Temer, MichelMichel Temer (Vice President)
 Canada Harper, StephenStephen Harper (Prime Minister)
 Chile Piñera, SebastiánSebastián Piñera (President)
 China Hu Jintao, Hu Jintao (President)
 Czech Republic Klaus, VáclavVáclav Klaus (President)
 Denmark[7] Thorning-Schmidt, HelleHelle Thorning-Schmidt (Prime Minister)
 Egypt Tantawi, Mohamed HusseinMohamed Hussein Tantawi (Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt)
 European Union[7] Van Rompuy, HermanHerman Van Rompuy (President of the European Council)
Barroso, José ManuelJosé Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission)
 Finland Niinistö, SauliSauli Niinistö (President)
 France Fillon, FrancoisFrancois Fillon (Prime Minister)
 Gabon[7] Ondimba, Ali BongoAli Bongo Ondimba (President)
 Georgia Saakashvili, MikheilMikheil Saakashvili (President)
 Germany Westerwelle, GuidoGuido Westerwelle (Minister for Foreign Affairs)
 Hungary[7] Schmitt, PálPál Schmitt (President)
 India Singh, ManmohanManmohan Singh (Prime Minister)
 Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (President)
 International Atomic Energy Agency Amano, YukiyaYukiya Amano (Director-General)
Interpol[7] Noble, RonaldRonald Noble[8] (Secretary General)
Israel Israel Meridor, DanDan Meridor (Deputy Prime Minister and Intelligence Services Minister)
 Italy Monti, MarioMario Monti (Prime Minister)
 Japan Noda, YoshihikoYoshihiko Noda (Prime Minister)
Jordan Jordan Abdullah II (King)
 Kazakhstan Nazarbayev, NursultanNursultan Nazarbayev (President)
 Lithuania[7] Grybauskaitė, DaliaDalia Grybauskaitė (President)
 Malaysia Razak, Najib TunNajib Tun Razak (Prime Minister)
 Mexico Calderón, FelipeFelipe Calderón (President)
 Morocco El Othmani, SaâdeddineSaâdeddine El Othmani (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation)
 Netherlands Rosenthal, UriUri Rosenthal[9] (Minister of Foreign Affairs)
 New Zealand Key, JohnJohn Key (Prime Minister)
 Nigeria Jonathan, GoodluckGoodluck Jonathan (President)
 Norway Stoltenberg, JensJens Stoltenberg (Prime Minister)
 Pakistan Ashraf, Raja PervaizRaja Pervaiz Ashraf (Prime Minister)
 Philippines Binay, JejomarJejomar Binay (Vice President)
 Poland Korolec, MarcinMarcin Korolec[9] (Minister of Environment)
 Romania[7] BasescuTraian Băsescu (President)
 Russia Medvedev, DmitryDmitry Medvedev (President)
 Saudi Arabia Yamani, Hashim bin AbdullahHashim bin Abdullah Yamani (President of KACARE)
 Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister)
 South Africa Zuma, JacobJacob Zuma (President)
 South Korea (host) Lee Myung-bak, Lee Myung-bak (President)
 Spain Rajoy, MarianoMariano Rajoy (Prime Minister)
 Sweden Reinfeldt, FredrikFredrik Reinfeldt (Prime Minister)
  Switzerland Burkhalter, DidierDidier Burkhalter (Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs)
 Thailand Shinawatra, YingluckYingluck Shinawatra (Prime Minister)
 Turkey Erdoğan, Recep TayyipRecep Tayyip Erdoğan (Prime Minister)
 Ukraine Yanukovych, ViktorViktor Yanukovych (President)
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates Zayed Al Nahyan, Mohammed binMohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi)
 United Kingdom Clegg, NickNick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister)
 United Nations Ban Ki-moon, Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General)
 United States Obama, BarackBarack Obama (President)
 Vietnam Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, Nguyễn Tấn Dũng (Prime Minister)

Schedule and agenda[edit]

The host country of the summit plays an important role in setting the agenda. The North Korean nuclear issue is expected to top the agenda of the 2012 summit; and the summit may attempt to deal with a broader spectrum of non-proliferation issues than in Washington.[10]

In advance of the meeting date, negotiations will take place primarily amongst multi-national civil servants. It is open to question that for Germany, the table lists the leader of their delegation to be their President, but not the normally more authoritative office of Chancellor; one can interpret this as the nation-state Germany contracting out its global security concerns and responsibilities to the European Union, an improvised aggregate state with features of a continuing experimental nature. In terms of other listed national leaders, the same matter concerning the de facto versus de jure authority is most relevant for Russia, a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and the second Nuclear Weapon State. As Brazil and Vietnam are planning to increase their nuclear power plants significantly,[11] questions can also be raised as to who is included in their delegations to the summit. Although Brazil is on a good overall economic trajectory, its culture has a history of coups, and securing enriched nuclear fuel and enrichment equipment practical knowledge can be a difficult task. It is open to question whether or not any Brazilian legislative[12] leaders, not of Her Excellency President Rousseff's political party, will be at the Summit.

The Summit officially began with a Welcome Reception and a Working Dinner on the night of the 26th, and on the 27th there was a Morning Session, a Working Luncheon and an Afternoon Session.

The agenda for each session was as follows:

1. March 26 (Monday) -Working Dinner : Review of the Progress Made Since the 2010 Washington Summit 2. March 27 (Tuesday) -Plenary Session I : National Measures and International Cooperation to Enhance Nuclear Security, including Future Commitments -Working Lunch : Nuclear Security-Safety Interface -Plenary Session II : National Measures and International Cooperation to Enhance Nuclear Security, including Future Commitments (cont.).[13]

Seoul Communiqué[edit]

The Seoul Communiqué builds on the objectives and measures set out in the 2010 Washington Communiqué to identify 11 areas of priority and importance in nuclear security and presents specific actions in each area.

The 11 areas are as follows: the global nuclear security architecture; the role of the IAEA; nuclear materials; radioactive sources; nuclear security and safety; transportation security; combating illicit trafficking; nuclear forensics; nuclear security culture; information security; and international cooperation.

The Seoul Communiqué sets out the following specific actions in the above 11 areas:[14]

  • Eliminating and disposing of highly enriched uranium (HEU) no longer in use
  • Minimizing the use of HEU
    • Encouraging voluntary announcements by the end of 2013 of specific actions to minimize the use of HEU
  • Welcoming international efforts to develop high-density low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel for the purpose of replacing HEU fuels in research reactors and medical isotope production facilities
  • Seeking to bring the 2005 amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) into effect by 2014
  • Welcoming an international conference in 2013 organized by the IAEA to coordinate nuclear security activities
  • Encouraging voluntary contributions to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund
  • Developing options for national policies on HEU management within the framework of the IAEA
  • Encouraging national measures and international cooperation to prevent radiological terrorism
  • Strengthening the physical protection of nuclear facilities and enhancing emergency response capabilities in the case of radiological accidents while comprehensively addressing nuclear security and nuclear safety concerns
  • Strengthening the management of spent nuclear fuels and radioactive wastes
  • Strengthening the protection of nuclear materials and radioactive sources in transport
    • Encouraging the establishment of a system to effectively manage and track such materials on a national level
  • Preventing the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials
    • Strengthening technical capabilities to search for and detect illicitly trafficked nuclear materials and encouraging the sharing of information on persons involved in such activities by cooperating with the INTERPOL
  • Building nuclear forensics capacity to identify the source of illicitly trafficked nuclear materials
  • Welcoming the establishment of Centers of Excellence for training and education in nuclear security, and supporting networking activities between each Center
  • Strengthening the nuclear security culture
    • Encouraging the participation of industry, academia, the media, NGOs and other civil actors in the discussions on nuclear security
  • Strengthening the protection of sensitive nuclear security-related information and enhancing cyber security at nuclear facilities
  • Promoting international cooperation, such as the provision of assistance to countries for the enhancement of national nuclear security capabilities upon request
  • The hosting of the next Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands — see 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

There are a number of points particularly worthy of note in the Seoul Communiqué. Firstly, it provides important timelines for advancing nuclear security objectives, such as the target year (end of 2013) for states to announce voluntary actions on minimizing the use of HEU and the goal year (2014) for bringing the amended CPPNM into effect. Secondly, it reflects the need to address both the issues of nuclear security and nuclear safety in a coherent manner for the sustainable peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It also emphasizes the need to better secure spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. Thirdly, it sets out specific measures to prevent radiological terrorism, an issue which was only briefly touched upon at the Washington Summit.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Gets Underway Monday" Chosun Ilbo. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-26
  2. ^ a b "Obama's Opening Remarks," New York Times. April 13, 2010.
  3. ^ "Overview of 2012 summit". Nuclear Security Summit. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Korea’s contribution to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit". The Korea Herald. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Korea’s contribution to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit" The Korea Herald. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012
  6. ^ "Background of 2012 summit". Nuclear Security Summit. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Key Facts on the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit". Nuclear Security Summit. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Remarks by Interpol Secretary General at 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit". Nuclear Security Summit. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "The Head of Delegations from the Netherlands and Poland to the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Changed". Nuclear Security Summit. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Na Jeong-ju (28 April 2010). "Seoul’s Hosting of Nuclear Summit to Corner Pyongyang". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Chester Dawson; Brian Spegele; Selina Williams (11 March 2011). "Nuclear Pushes On Despite Fukushima". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Congresso Nacional do Brasil (National Congress of Brazil); Portuguese Wikipedia.
  13. ^ "Schedule of 2012 summit". Nuclear Security Summit. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "Seoul Communiqué". Nuclear Security Summit. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 

External links[edit]