Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102
The nuclear security summit initiative was announced in an April 2009 speech by U.S. President Barack Obama, in which he pledged to hold a global summit on nuclear security in 2010 as part of an effort to "secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.” The broad goal of the summit process is to address the threat of nuclear terrorism by minimizing and securing weapons-usable civilian nuclear materials, enhancing international cooperation to prevent the illicit acquisition of nuclear material by non-state actors such as terrorist groups and smugglers, and taking steps to strengthen the global nuclear security system. The nuclear security summit focus remained on nuclear material in the civil sphere and did not address the security of military nuclear material.
There were four summits in total: in Washington, D.C. in 2010, Seoul, South Korea in 2012, the Hague, Netherlands in 2014 and Washington, D.C. again in 2016.
Each summit produced a consensus communiqué that reaffirmed the broad goals of the summit process and encouraged states to take actions, such as ratifying key treaties or minimizing stockpiles of weapons-usable materials. These voluntary, caveated recommendations were enhanced by individual state-specific commitments made at each summit. These pledges, known as “house gifts,” included actions such as repatriating weapons-usable materials, holding trainings for nuclear security personnel, updating national laws and regulations, and taking steps to combat illicit trafficking. At each subsequent summit, states reported on the progress made toward fulfilling these commitments. All 53 participating states made national pledges at at least one summit.
Beginning at the 2012 summit in Seoul, groups of countries offered multinational commitments, known as “gift baskets” that targeted key areas of nuclear security. In 2012, 13 joint statements were offered. That number increased to 14 in 2014, with some gift baskets building off of 2012 statements and others targeting new areas. In 2016, states produced 21 gift baskets.
Of the 53 countries to participate in the 2012 summit, 48 participated in at least one joint statement in 2012.
At the last summit in 2016, countries agreed to five action plans for international organizations to take forward the work of the summits beyond their conclusion.
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The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, D.C. from April 12-13, 2010. Forty-seven national delegations as well as the heads of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union attended. With 38 of the 47 participating countries represented at the head of state or head of government level, the gathering was the largest of its kind hosted by a U.S. President since 1945.
The summit produced the first of four communiqués, the summit’s only work plan, and the first national commitments or house gifts.
- Recognizes that highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium require special precautions and encourages the conversion of reactors from HEU to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel and minimization of use of HEU, where feasible.
- Reaffirms the essential role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the international nuclear security framework and will work to ensure that it continues to have the appropriate structure, resources and expertise to carry out its activities.
- Recognizes the continuing role of nuclear industry in nuclear security.
- Supports the implementation of strong nuclear security practices that will not infringe upon the rights of States to develop and utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and technology and will facilitate international cooperation in the field of nuclear security.
The Work Plan lays out the specific steps for realizing the goals of the Communiqué, including ratification and implementation of international treaties; support for Security Council Resolution 1540; conversion of civilian facilities from HEU to non-weapons-useable materials; research on new nuclear fuels; detection methods and forensic technologies; development of corporate and institutional cultures that prioritize nuclear security; education and training; and joint exercises among law enforcement and customs officials to enhance nuclear detection opportunities.
Selected National Commitments (House Gifts)
Thirty countries announced 67 specific measures they planned to implement to support the goals of the summit. Prior to the 2012 Seoul summit, approximately 80 percent of these commitments were completed. For an accounting of the implementation of the 2010 national commitments, see: The Nuclear Security Summit: Assessment of National Commitments, March 2012.
Some of the national commitments include:
- Belgium, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom will convert a HEU research reactor to LEU.
- Canada will return a large amount of spent HEU fuel from their medical isotope production reactor to the United States and fund HEU removals from Mexico and Vietnam.
- Kazakhstan, Mexico and Ukraine will eliminate remaining HEU. Ukraine committed to eliminate half of its HEU by the year’s end.
- Norway will contribute $3.3 million over the next four years to the IAEA nuclear security fund.
- Russia committed to sign the Plutonium Disposition protocol to end plutonium production and to contribute to IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund.
See a full list of national commitments here.
From March 26-27, 2012, 53 heads of state along with representatives from the UN, IAEA, EU and INTERPOL gathered for the second nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea. Participating countries included the 47 countries that attended the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit plus Azerbaijan, Denmark, Gabon, Hungary, Lithuania, and Romania.
The scope of the 2012 agenda was expanded to include discussions on the security of radiological sources and the interface between nuclear security and safety, a concern highlighted by the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.
In additional to the consensus communiqué and national commitments, or house gifts, states also introduced joint proposals, or gift baskets for the first time in 2012. All states also submitted voluntary progress reports on their national commitments from 2010.
- Reaffirms the fundamental responsibility of States to maintain effective security of all nuclear materials, including through the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) as amended, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT); reiterates broader participation in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction; continued support of UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1977.
- Encourages States to minimize the use of HEU, where feasible, and to convert reactors from HEU to LEU fuel; urges states to secure nuclear materials and radioactive materials through proper transportation, accounting, consolidation and storage practices; emphasizes the need to develop national capabilities to combat illicit nuclear trafficking through utilizing nuclear forensics, investing in the promotion of a strong nuclear security culture, and preventing non-state actors from obtaining sensitive information.
- Encourages efforts to control radioactive material, including through IAEA measures such as the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and the Guidance on the Import and Expert of Radioactive Sources.
- Urges states in a position to do so to accelerate their domestic approval of the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM, seeking to bring the Amendment into force by 2014
- Encourages states in a position to do so, by the end of 2013, to announce voluntary specific actions intended to minimize the use of HEU.
- Algeria, Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam joined the GINCT.
- Czech Republic, Mexico, Vietnam converted their research reactors using HEU fuel to LEU fuel.
- Ukraine completed the removal of all HEU stockpiles.
- Kazakhstan secured spent nuclear fuel, which contained enough HEU and plutonium to make several hundred nuclear weapons by moving them to a new long-term storage facility.
- Russia and the United States down-blended HEU equivalent to around 3,000 nuclear weapons to LEU.
Selected National Commitments (House Gifts)
- Armenia, Brazil, Canada, France, Georgia, Italy, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Vietnam committed to ratify the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM.
- Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria will establish nuclear security support centers.
- Italy will repatriate excess HEU and plutonium to the U.S. by the 2014 summit.
- Pakistan will open Nuclear Security Training Centers to act as a regional and international hub and deploy Special Nuclear Material Portals on key exit and entry points to counter the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials.
- Singapore committed to establish a national nuclear forensics laboratory by 2013.
Joint Commitments (Gift Baskets)
- Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States committed to continue to cooperate to secure the former Semipalatinsk test site.
- Indonesia and 17 others agreed to draw up a National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security to help states align domestic laws with international treaties and regulations that address nuclear security.
- Twenty-three states collaborated to develop International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres (NSSCs) to develop highly trained nuclear security personnel, and provide technical and scientific support for nuclear security technical systems and to detect nuclear security events.
- France, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States agreed to hold working group meetings, the first one in 2013, to address nuclear transport security issues.
- Chile, Nigeria, Morocco, Poland, Republic of Korea, Thailand and the United States hosted regional outreach meetings to discuss nuclear security challenges and promote the continuation of outreach efforts.
- Russia and the United States explained the contributions of the GICNT to nuclear security, including through the creation of the Nuclear Detection Working Group, chaired by the Netherlands.
- Canada, Mexico and the United States announced a collaborative effort to convert Mexico’s research reactor from HEU to LEU.
- Belgium, France, the Republic of Korea and the United States declared a joint project to use high-density LEU fuel production technology to convert research reactors from HEU to LEU.
- Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands reaffirmed their commitment to convert “production industries to non-HEU-based processes by 2015, subject to regulatory approvals” and the United States agreed to supply those countries with HEU target material for the “uninterrupted production of medical isotopes... while achieving the goal of HEU minimalization.”
- Nineteen states pledged to build national capacities to counter nuclear smuggling, to pass new laws against nuclear smuggling by the 2014 summit, to share information on nuclear smuggling with partner countries and to make resources available for counter smuggling projects.
- Germany and 24 other states described the threat posed by radioactive material and encouraged states to ratify or accede to the ICSANT and establish national registers of high-activity radioactive sources.
- Thirty-one states committed to enhance nuclear information security, including by conducting national assurance exercises, and developing government processes to control the export of nuclear information.
- France, the United States and the United Kingdom committed to“strengthen worldwide preparedness to contend with the threat of nuclear terrorism.”
For a report on progress on these commitments, see: The Nuclear Security Summit: Progress Report, July 2013.
On March 24-25, 2014, all 53 countries and four international organizations who met in 2012 reconvened for the third nuclear security summit in the Hague, Netherlands.
The Netherlands laid out several goals for the summit, including; reducing stockpiles of nuclear materials, improving the security of nuclear and radioactive sources, increasing coordination with the nuclear industry, and improving international cooperation.
Leaders also participated in a scenario-based policy exercise, during which they had the opportunity to think through responses to a radioactive device, and held a discussion on the future of the summit process.
- Identifies a range of voluntary measures States may consider taking to show that they have established effective security of their nuclear materials and facilities while protecting sensitive information. Such measures include exchanging good practices, inviting IAEA review and advisory services and following through on recommendations, further developing training of personnel involved in nuclear security.
- Supports a more intensive dialogue between operators and government bodies, including the national regulator, which should be functionally independent, with a view to improving nuclear security regulations and regulatory effectiveness.
- Encourages states to take effective risk mitigation measures to ensure that the systems and networks of nuclear facilities are appropriately secured from cyber attack.
- Belgium, Canada, and France completed steps necessary to ratify the 2005 amendment to the CPPNM.
- Germany hosted the Wiesabaden Conference in 2012 and 2013 to strengthen the partnership between government and industry. In 2013, the conference focused on UNSCR 1540 implementation.
- Italy returned 20 kilograms of HEU and plutonium in coordination with the IAEA and the United Kingdom.
- The United Arab Emirates signed an Integrated master Working Plan with the IAEA to enhance the partnership between the IAEA and the UAE.
- The United States and Russia successfully completed the HEU Purchase Agreement under which 500 metric tons of Russian weapons-origin HEU- the equivalent for approximately 20,000 nuclear warheads - was converted into LEU and used in U.S. power reactors to produce 10 percent of all U.S. electricity during the past 15 years.
Selected National Commitments (House Gifts)
- Belgium, Italy and Japan made commitments to remove excess HEU and plutonium.
- Denmark committed an additional 8 million Danish Krona (about $1.3 million) to the IAEA.
- Finland committed to host the next plenary meeting of the GICNT.
- Hungary will host an event of the GICNT on nuclear forensics libraries in the fall of 2014 in Budapest.
- Poland committed to eliminate the last of its HEU from its territory by 2016.
Joint Statements (Gift Baskets)
The gift baskets from the 2014 summit built on several of the subjects from the 2012 summit. The new gift baskets to the 2014 summit are listed below.
- Twelve states marked the elimination of HEU from their borders.
- The Netherlands headed a new gift basket on nuclear forensics, including a platform for sharing best practices in the event of a nuclear or radiological incident.
- Thirty-two states reiterated their support for the full and universal implementation of UNSCR 1540 and agreed to consider hosting regional capacity building events to support UNSCR 1540.
- Thirteen states agreed to participate in a workshop by the next nuclear security summit to detect and remove nuclear and radiological materials that are out of regulatory control from the global supply chain.
- The United States, South Korea, and the Netherlands led a joint statement supported by 32 additional states that committed participants to meet the intent of IAEA recommendations for nuclear security and take further steps to provide assurance of sound nuclear security practices.
For more information on these commitments see: The Nuclear Security Summit: Assessment of Joint Statements, March 2014.
For a report on progress on these commitments see: The Nuclear Security Summit: Progress Report on Joint Statements, March 2015.
The fourth and final summit took place in Washington, D.C. from March 31-April 1, 2016. Of the 53 states and four international organizations that attended the 2012 and 2014 summits, all attended except Russia.
For more information, see The Nuclear Security Summit: Accomplishments of the Process, March 2016.
- Welcomes the imminent entry into force of the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM and Facilities and encourage further ratifications.
- Seeks to maintain the international network of officials and government experts who have supported the Summit process and to incorporate the broader community of States, as well as encourage the continued engagement of relevant partners in nuclear industry and civil society.
- Resolves to implement the attached Action Plans, in support of the international organizations and initiatives to which we respectively belong (the United Nations, the IAEA, INTERPOL, the GICNT, and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction), to be carried out on a voluntary basis and consistent with national laws and respective international obligations.
- The 2005 amendment to the CPPNM received the necessary ratifications to enter into force.
- China converted a research reactor from HEU to LEU in March 2016.
- Egypt held training courses on the security of research reactors and associated facilities.
- Georgia: With the support of the IAEA, adopted an Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plan through 2019.
- New Zealand enacted the Radiation Safety Act (2016) to better address the safety of nuclear and radioactive material.
Selected National Commitments (House Gifts)
- Argentina committed to eliminate its HEU, making Latin America and the Caribbean the first regional HEU-free region.
- Egypt committed $10 million to establish a nuclear counterterrorism center at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
- Lithuania committed to welcome the IAEA’s International Physical Protection Advisory Service Mission (IPPAS) in 2017.
- Morocco agreed to establish the “Moroccan Agency for Safety and Security in Nuclear and Radiological Fields.”
- South Africa committed to finalize the establishment of a nuclear forensics facility.
Joint Statements (Gift Baskets)
Gift Baskets continued to build on proposals from previous years. For a complete list of 2016 Gift Baskets, see here. Proposals unique to 2016 are listed below.
- Seventeen states developed a “Consolidated National Nuclear Security Report” as a suggested reporting template.
- Twenty-nine states agreed to participate in two workshops on cyber security in 2016.
- Twenty-seven states agreed to establish national measure to mitigate insider threats in nuclear and radiological security programs.
- Eighteen states noted the progress on towards establishing an IAEA LEU Bank with Kazakhstan and looked forward to its full-scale implementation.
- Twenty-three states committed to improve national detection practices to combat the trafficking of nuclear materials.
- Forty states agreed to establish a Nuclear Security Contact Group and to designate an official to participate in the contact group in order to sustain activity on nuclear security after the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit.
The final nuclear security summit established five action plans for international organizations to take forward the work of the summits.