Prevent transfer of nuclear materials to terrorists
The Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, D.C. with participation of heads of states and others from more than 50 countries in the world. The summit adopted a joint statement which focused on prevention of terrorism using nuclear materials as a lasting priority.
Nuclear terrorism is now emerging as a realistic threat. The perpetrators of recent simultaneous terrorist attacks in Brussels were reportedly planning to carry out a nuclear terrorism.
For terrorists who aim at causing mass casualties indiscriminately, a dirty bomb containing radioactive materials to be exploded in urban center or subway s]and spread radioactive contamination can provide a very effective means. Radioactive materials are often stored in medical or research facilities. Those facilities do not have as stringent security protection as military facilities, and are easier targets.
President Barack Obama who chaired the summit urged each country to enhance security of nuclear facilities. Summit participants agreed that it is necessary to share more information to prevent nuclear terrorism by the extremist group, Islamic State (IS). An action plan to support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) financially and technologically was formulated. Those efforts have to lead to enhanced management of nuclear materials.
The U.S.-Japan joint statement issued in conjunction with the summit announced that removal of all highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel and separated plutonium fuel from fast reactor critical assemblers (FCAs) in Japan has been completed. The reason why removal efforts have been completed substantially ahead of schedule was to prevent criminals and terrorists from obtaining nuclear materials. It is necessary to further expand such efforts.
Furthermore, North Korea’s nuclear weapons development is causing a great concern in the international community. Since the beginning of this year, North Korea carried out a nuclear explosion test and a long-range missile flight test. These cannot be ignored from the view point of prevention of nuclear terrorism as well as reginal security.
In order to deter North Korea’s nuclear development, stringent implementation of sanction resolutions of the United Nations Security Council is required. Especially, China which has a great influence on North Korea holds the key. Japan should strengthen collaboration with the United States and South Korea and appeal to China.
At the same time, promotion of peaceful use of nuclear power is indispensable. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that total transparency is needed for continuation of peaceful use of nuclear power and Japan has led the world consistently in improvement of such transparency. Continuous efforts to increase trust are needed into the future.
Japan formulated the most stringent nuclear regulatory standard in the world based on the accident of Tokyo Electric Power Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Japan needs to share the lessons learned from the accident with the world community and utilize them. It is Japan’s mission to share and spread the experience and knowledge on the safety of nuclear power plants and countermeasures against nuclear accidents.
Japan should make efforts to enhance safety
Nuclear security is a new field of national security which encompasses challenges including physical protection and safe transport of nuclear materials.
Japan is the only country in the world which experienced devastations of nuclear bomb. In the wake of the recent Nuclear Security Summit, Japan should make efforts to enhance nuclear security in the world.