2010 Nuclear Security Summit National Commitment Implementation: Steps in the Fight Against Nuclear Terrorism

Michelle Cann

At the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), 47 nations signed consensus documents outlining how they planned to prevent nuclear terrorism by strengthening global nuclear material security. Reviewing, advancing, and building on the progress that countries have made implementing these commitments are among the main objectives of the second summit to be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea in March 2012. The 2010 summit’s communiqué endorsed the ambitious goal of securing all nuclear materials around the world in four years and a number of related pledges supporting compliance with the existing nuclear materials security regime. The communiqué was accompanied by a more detailed work plan that provides guidance on implementing the political commitments made at the summit. At the 2012 summit, a “Seoul Communiqué” that combines the work plan and communiqué into a single document is expected to be endorsed by over 50 world leaders.

As a complement to the objectives detailed in the 2010 communiqué and work plan, a number of countries made national pledges to take specific measures to improve global nuclear security. After the summit, the White House released a document summarizing nearly 60 national commitments made by 29 countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These national commitments ranged from domestic, unilateral measures to cooperative, multinational contributions that bolster global nuclear security. The United States, which did not include any of its own national commitments in the highlights document, also released its own national statement that discussed the US policy and its 12 specific pledges. While other countries may have also made additional commitments in their national statements, most of these were not made public. At the 2012 summit, countries are expected to again issue additional, voluntary national statements (called “house gifts” by summit planners), and some may join together to offer regional or multilateral commitments (“gift baskets”). In advance of the Seoul Summit, this paper provides an overview of the steps that countries have taken to implement the voluntary, national commitments detailed in the 2010 White House highlights document and the US national statement.

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