A warm welcome to our distinguished speakers and to everyone who joins us today — we know this week offers many meaningful ways to spend your time, and we are grateful you are spending some of it with us. Please note that interpretation of this event in Spanish and English is being provided throughout the event via the headsets.
My name is Bonnie Jenkins, and I am the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security at the U.S. Department of State. It is my privilege and pleasure to be the moderator of this event. I am joined by a group of distinguished colleagues who I will introduce as we proceed through the program.
Let me just make a few remarks to frame this conversation. For over 50 years, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – the NPT – has provided a framework for States to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science, and technology. For the peaceful use of nuclear energy to flourish as envisioned by the NPT’s Article IV, nuclear facilities and materials must be safe and secure, wherever they are located and in all circumstances, including in situations of armed conflict.
We are here this afternoon to focus attention on the dramatic dangers created by hostilities at or near peaceful nuclear and radiological facilities. For the first time in history, we are experiencing the impacts of a chaotic war on the safe and secure operation of nuclear power plants, waste storage facilities, and research facilities. In any war, there is the potential for disrupted supply chains for nuclear operations, intentional or accidental shelling of nuclear facilities, spread of radioactive contamination, and electricity cuts to and from nuclear facilities. These actions present serious challenges to the global nuclear safety and security framework that has been elaborated over decades by States and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The IAEA Director General, Rafael Grossi, has reminded us of the importance of this framework in his “Seven Indispensable Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Security.” We have gathered today to highlight the importance of maintaining and promoting nuclear safety and security not only in existing conflicts, but also in those of the future. Indeed, the expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear technologies to new countries and in modern applications requires that we all take seriously the responsibility to prevent, where possible, and otherwise manage war-time threats. To highlight this, we have joined with a number of partner countries to co-sponsor a working paper that we have submitted to the Review Conference that seeks to draw attention to the basic elements of nuclear safety and security described in the Seven Indispensable Pillars. We encourage all NPT States Parties to join with us in co-sponsoring this working paper.
With these few remarks to give a framework for why we are gathered here, it is my privilege to introduce our speakers: Mr. Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and originator of the “Seven Indispensable Pillars”; Mr. Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation; His Excellency, Mr. Santiago Cafiero, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Argentine Republic; Her Excellency, Ms. Ángeles Moreno Bau, Deputy Foreign Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign and Global Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain; His Excellency, Mr. Kairat Umarov,
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations; and Mr. Matthijsvan der Plas, the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Director-General for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
I wish to thank all our speakers today for lending their considerable influence to this program and to supporting IAEA Director General Grossi’s initiative to draw international attention to the principles set out in his “Seven Indispensable Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Security.” As stated in our working paper, we encourage all States Parties to recognize the Seven Pillars. We also underscore the connection between these Seven Pillars and reaping the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology that can help move us towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. On behalf of the United States, I reaffirm our commitment to strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the international rules-based order of which it is a critical part.
Many thanks to our organizers and co-sponsors. In particular, I give thanks to my colleague Ms. Beatrice Helena Mueller of Switzerland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was the focal point of coordination and support for this event.
Thank you everyone and have a good night.