Nuclear Security Summit Advances Our Goal of a World Free From Nuclear Danger

April 16, 2010
Nuclear Security Summit

About the Author: Hillary Rodham Clinton serves as the U.S. Secretary of State.

The Nuclear Security Summit ended on Tuesday, bringing to a close a substantive two week period in which the United States signed an arms control treaty with Russia, reoriented our defense posture toward the threats of the 21st century, and worked with our allies and partners to secure all vulnerable nuclear material over the next four years.

I was honored to be a part of the Nuclear Security Summit in which representatives from 47 nations, as well as the European Union, United Nations and IAEA, joined together to keep vulnerable nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists or criminals.

This is not something any nation can do alone. At the Summit, leaders committed to safeguard nuclear materials under their control. And they agreed to work toward signing key international treaties on nuclear security and nuclear terrorism.

During the course of the Nuclear Security Summit, I held numerous bilateral meetings with my counterparts and leaders. For example, my Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and I signed an agreement that cleared the way for the disposal of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium -- enough to make 17,000 nuclear weapons. This will help establish a framework for eliminating even more plutonium in the future.

We also reached agreements with Ukraine, Canada, Mexico and Chile -- to name a few -- to secure enriched uranium and separated plutonium.

But the Summit is only part of our broader commitment to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

Last week, the Obama Administration released the latest Nuclear Posture Review. This provides the strategic framework for our nuclear weapons policy and pledges for the first time that the United States will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are in compliance with their obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty.

I also recently traveled to Prague with the President to witness the signing of our New START agreement with Russia. The new agreement will reduce the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads by our two countries to a level not seen since the 1950s.

All these steps make America and the world safer and more secure.

More on theNuclear Security Summit



New Mexico, USA
May 11, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Flavius:
(part 1)

Ok, so we're in agreement then on two things, one that there is a "pressing need to get rid of this stuff" and two, that the Atlas V represents a reliable, but not fool-proof means. So the debate is really over the risk assessment as well as the cost. I believe attitude is at the root of all perception, thus to put this in a present day analogy, it's a little bit like Gen. McCrystal this morning saying, "Our efforts in Afghanistan are ultimately about changing the perceptions of people."

Well that's all in the appropriate attitude adjustment, isn't it? Well, never mind the cost and let's think safety first. The one sure way to assure failure of a project is to underfund it, or "under-resource" it.

We'll get to economic sustainability...But let's deal with the perception of risk, for that is I think if we're agreed, the driving motivation behind the attitude that it needs a permanent solution. Is the Atlas V rocket the ideal launch vehicle? Let's assume for the moment that until we come up with something better it is, for now.

Let's also keep in mind that when the President said he wants "to sucure in 4 years" all bomb grade fissile material planet-wide, he is talking about "locking it down" not getting it off planet, that will take 20 years, and

beyond in a sustainable industrial approach to disposal, which is why the industry must help fund it in the first place. So what's the worst that can happen?

Since 1945 and atomic testing, scientists have a distinct atomic signature to clock things like human remains. Anyone born after that time has certain isotopes unique to the atomic age in their bones. Animals, plants...How the human race will evolve over time because of it is a very long-term study indeed. But to offer some perspective on your "worst fear", we've been there for a number of generations already.

As to the daily risk we put up with, is launching what we don't need to power nuclear plants for the next hundred years into the sun more than the risk we've faced pointing nuclear missiles at each other? Might be impossible to calculate. But we do know the risk if we leave it in place. And that's unacceptably high. So let's say you could vitrify (w/silica at high heat turns the mix to an environmentally inert glass-like composite) Inert in the sense it can't be arosolized, emoleable in water, or otherwise become a part of it like what happens in a nuclear explosion, with all the irradiated soils, water, atmosphere etc. becoming a function of that. In other words, worst case it would have a localized effect if anyone came into close proximity to exposed radioactive material.

Cathy D.
Tennessee, USA
August 1, 2010

Cathy D. in Tennessee writes:

Thanks for your work at the Nuclear Summit. Hopefully one day we can end the threat of nuclear arms and live at peace with each other.



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