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Summit draft statement seeks curbs on HEU

27 march 2012, 18:23
Uranium Conversion Facility. ©REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl
Uranium Conversion Facility. ©REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl
World leaders at a nuclear security summit will promote global efforts to minimise use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) which can be used to make bombs, AFP reports according to a draft communique seen on Monday.

Leaders or top officials from 53 countries, plus four international organisations, are meeting in South Korea to tackle the potential threat of nuclear-armed terrorism.

"Nuclear terrorism continues to be one of the most challenging threats to international security," the leaders say in the draft obtained by AFP.

"Defeating this threat requires strong national measures and international cooperation."

The leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, welcome "substantive progress" on the national commitments made at the first nuclear security summit in Washington in 2010.

President Lee Myung-Bak will announce the final communique when the meeting ends Tuesday evening.

The document stresses the "fundamental responsibility" of all nations to safeguard nuclear material and keep it out of the hands of terrorists.

It urges all countries to accede to international conventions on protecting fissile material, and reaffirms the central role of the UN's atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Leaders emphasise the need to secure stocks of HEU and plutonium. They encourage nations to minimise the use of HEU, including the conversion of reactors from HEU to low-enriched uranium fuel which cannot be weaponised.

Since radioactive materials are widely used "and can be vulnerable to malicious acts", nations are urged to secure them.

The communique also calls for effective inventories and tracking mechanisms for nuclear material and the development of forensics capacities to determine its source.

It also announces that the next summit will be in the Netherlands in 2014.

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