8 May 2002

US Department of State
International Information Programs

Washington File

03 May 2002

Terrorists Could Target Nuclear Facilities, Wulf Warns

(Ambassador addresses preparatory committee for NPT meeting) (2080)

Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last
September 11 should be taken as a warning, foreshadowing possible
efforts to strike nuclear sites, Ambassador Norman Wulf says.

Addressing a meeting in Washington, D.C., of the Preparatory Committee
for the 2005 Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, Wulf
observed, "our peaceful nuclear programs offer a potentially
attractive target for terrorists."

"While we cannot be alarmists, we also cannot ignore the allure that
these programs might present to those willing to subvert modern
technology for brutal disruption," the U.S. representative to the
meeting said.

"Following the attacks of September 11th, we must recognize that
terrorists might target a nuclear facility or attempt to construct a
crude nuclear weapon or radiological dispersion device. All of us must
take seriously our responsibility to protect nuclear facilities and
materials," he added.

Following is the transcript of Wulf's remarks:

(begin transcript)

Safety and Security of Peaceful Nuclear Programs
Ambassador Norman A. Wulf, U.S. Representative
to the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee
for the 2005 NPT Review Conference
Remarks to the First Meeting of the Preparatory Committee
Washington, DC
April 17, 2002

Mr. Chairman, my fellow delegates. It is fitting that this first major
gathering of states parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
[NPT] since the 11th of September 2001 takes this special time to
address the issue of promoting the "Safety and Security of Peaceful
Nuclear Programs."

It is widely recognized that the NPT rests on three pillars: nuclear
nonproliferation, the pursuit of disarmament, and the right of all
responsible Parties to the Treaty to benefit from the peaceful uses of
nuclear energy. This third pillar promises that the populations of
states parties can share in nuclear energy's many benefits, ranging
from medical, agricultural and environmental to energy-production.
This right comes with an obligation to abide by and support the
nonproliferation articles of the Treaty. In order to sustain peaceful
nuclear cooperation, each state party must ensure the safety and
security of the nuclear facilities and materials it uses for peaceful

The 11th of September manifested the gravity of this responsibility.
The terrorists who piloted two commercial airplanes loaded with
innocent passengers into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers did so
without hesitation or remorse and took the lives of thousands of
innocent people. They signaled their complete disregard for the
sanctity of human life and their eagerness to exploit the achievements
of modern technology to destroy all they could in our society. Their
attack was not aimed only at my country. It was directed at all of us
who respect the worth of each person, who seek -- as we do here --
constructive dialogue among nations, and who pursue the peaceful
development of technology for its promise of a richer and fuller life
for all humankind.

Their attack was a warning. We must understand that our peaceful
nuclear programs offer a potentially attractive target for terrorists.
While we cannot be alarmists, we also cannot ignore the allure that
these programs might present to those willing to subvert modern
technology for brutal disruption. Following the attacks of September
11th, we must recognize that terrorists might target a nuclear
facility or attempt to construct a crude nuclear weapon or
radiological dispersion device. All of us must take seriously our
responsibility to protect nuclear facilities and materials.

This is not a threat faced only by some countries. It is a truly
global problem that joins us all. None of us wants to be the "weakest
link" in the chain of safe and secure peaceful nuclear programs. None
of us wants to be the target of terrorist exploitation of these
programs. We will all suffer from a failure to keep our peaceful
nuclear programs safe and secure. Those countries least able to deal
with the consequences will be affected the most.

The ways to meet this responsibility are clear. First and foremost,
there must be full compliance with the letter and spirit of Articles I
and II of the NPT. Ineffective controls over nuclear-related exports
might help terrorist groups acquire the components of a nuclear
explosive or dispersal device. Irresponsible governments have found
loopholes in these controls; there is no reason to believe terrorists
could not do the same.

Second, the IAEA safeguards required under Article III of the NPT must
provide strong verification of non-nuclear weapon states'
nonproliferation undertakings. Because they help protect against the
diversion of nuclear materials, safeguards remain the critical first
line of defense against nuclear terrorism. A strong safeguards system
and an IAEA with sufficient resources to implement it are the first
barrier to terrorist exploitation of these materials. Fundamental to
safeguards and their ability to protect against both proliferation and
nuclear terrorism are the accuracy and integrity of state systems of
accounting and control.

Third, all states must ensure effective physical protection for their
nuclear facilities and materials. All states must address potential
threats to these facilities and materials, particularly the threats of
seizure of nuclear material and sabotage. They must be attentive to
physical protection in all its aspects ranging from the legal and
regulatory to the facility level. One fundamental step we can all take
now to strengthen physical protection is to support the revision of
the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials on the
basis of the May 2001 Expert Meeting recommendation.

Finally, we need to secure our borders against illicit trafficking in
both nuclear materials and radiological sources. Within our borders,
we must focus on the safety and security of radiological sources,
particularly high-activity and highly dispersible sources. These
sources must be kept under control, and in cases where control has
been lost we must seek to recover and secure them.

Each of us bears primary responsibility for the safety and security of
our peaceful nuclear programs. But this is not a responsibility we
need to bear alone. The NPT urges states to cooperate in peaceful
nuclear endeavors, whether bilaterally, in conjunction with groups of
states, or through international organizations. In the face of the
enhanced threat of nuclear terrorism, existing cooperation should be
further expanded. We should take advantage of the benefits --
developmental, economic, educational -- that cooperation in safety and
security offers.

There are many opportunities to expand our cooperation in safety and
security. Let me discuss two.

First, programs pursued by the International Atomic Energy Agency make
an invaluable contribution to enhanced safe and secure nuclear
programs. The Agency responded quickly and adroitly when September
11th made clear the need to strengthen efforts to prevent nuclear
terrorism. The United States welcomed IAEA Director General El
Baradei's review of existing IAEA programs in the light of this
enhanced threat. This review was effective in setting priorities,
identifying programs that need broadening, and proposing new programs
where needed. My Government commends the Director General for
gathering Member State input on these proposals and incorporating it
into a comprehensive anti- terrorism program. We are pleased that the
IAEA Board of Governors last month approved this program. In support
of this work, the United States has already pledged over $2 million.

The Representative of the IAEA has touched upon ways the Agency can
provide assistance in safe and secure peaceful nuclear programs. But
let me highlight a few examples that build on strengths of the Agency,
including providing expert advice and training, facilitating exchange
of information, coordinating bilateral support, and defining material
security standards.

The IAEA proposes increasing the number and scope of its International
Physical Protection Advisory Service, or IPPAS, missions. These
missions, made at the request of member states, allow them to benefit
from international expertise in assessing their regulatory framework
and physical protection systems. The IAEA proposes broadening this
program to provide follow-up missions and assistance as needed in
implementing identified improvements. We encourage member states to
request these services.

In addition, the Agency proposes increased training related to
physical protection, state systems of accounting and control, and the
safety and security of nuclear and other radioactive materials. This
training offers the possibility of creating a cadre of workers in
member states well versed in both safety and security. We encourage
these efforts, particularly in training tailored to specific physical
protection issues and regional needs. We encourage member states to
take advantage of this opportunity.

Finally, the IAEA proposes expanding its capabilities to assist states
in locating and securing so-called "orphan sources." These highly
radioactive materials, which serve vital roles in fields such as
medicine, agriculture, and food safety, become "orphaned" when they
are lost or abandoned. On their own, some orphan sources can pose a
serious risk to human health and the environment. In the hands of
terrorists, they may become a weapon of disruption if not death.
Recent events have proven how effective the Agency can be in assisting
states to regain control over orphan sources. The Agency can provide
expert advice and assistance in securing orphan sources, as well as
training, advice, and assistance in preparing for emergency response.

Like the IAEA, U.S. efforts to encourage safe and secure peaceful
nuclear cooperation predate the NPT. They find their origins in the
"Atoms for Peace" program begun by U.S. President Dwight D.
Eisenhower. Efforts begun in Atoms for Peace have increased to include
today a wide variety of programs, particularly in the area of physical
protection. Many of them are conducted in cooperation with the IAEA
and other states. By expanding knowledge and expertise in this area,
these programs benefit all parties involved.

Since 1974, the United States has engaged in bilateral visits and
technical exchanges on physical protection with over forty countries
to which it has provided U.S.-origin nuclear material. Since 1978, my
country has worked with the IAEA to develop and present training
courses in both the physical protection of nuclear material and state
systems of accounting and control of nuclear material. These courses
have provided training to government regulators and facility operators
from over sixty countries to help them reduce the risk of both theft
and sabotage of nuclear materials. My country has also worked with
other states and the IAEA to develop methodologies to help states
assess threats to their physical protection systems.

Finally, since the creation of IPPAS in 1995, U.S. experts have
participated in missions to ten states and assisted five of those
states in making improvements based on the missions' findings.

The United States devotes considerable diplomatic and financial
resources to encourage other nations to strengthen their export
controls. U.S. bilateral assistance in this area ranges from help in
establishing the necessary regulatory and legal framework to provision
of detection equipment and training that tightens border controls.
Other programs such as the effort to reduce inventories worldwide of
high-enriched uranium fuel also contribute to reducing the potential
for theft of weapons-usable nuclear material. More than 50 foreign
reactors using U.S.- supplied fuel have already ceased their use of
high-enriched uranium fuel or will do so in the near future. Many of
these reactors have been converted to the use of low enriched uranium

For almost ten years, the United States has worked with Russia and
other states of the former Soviet Union to prevent the theft or loss
of nuclear material. These programs in nuclear materials protection,
control, and accounting are also central to our defense against
nuclear terrorism. In addition to keeping nuclear material secure
within authorized facilities, this effort has been expanded recently
to address nuclear smuggling. The United States and Russia also
continue to work on the security and disposition of fissile material
removed from military programs to ensure it is no longer usable in
nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chairman. In closing, let me express my satisfaction that we have
taken this special time to consider the safety and security of our
peaceful nuclear programs. In the light of September 11th, we must be
cognizant of the enhanced threat to all of us. We must be mindful of
our responsibilities to our citizens and to each other to ensure the
safety and security of our nuclear programs. We welcome the IAEA's
recognition of this enhanced threat and its efforts to tailor its
programs to respond to it. We must ensure that all member states are
aware of the assets the IAEA makes available to them and encourage
full use of them.

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Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)