The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit and the Middle East

By Chen Kane – The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit was held in South Korea in March 2012. This is the second summit, following the one held in Washington DC in April 2010.  Both summits focused on how to safeguard weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism. Eleven areas of priority in nuclear security were identified and presented with specific actions in each area. The 11 areas are – the global nuclear security architecture, the role of the IAEA, nuclear materials, radioactive sources, nuclear security and safety, transportation security, combating illicit trafficking, nuclear forensics, nuclear security culture, information security, and international cooperation.

From the Middle East, heads of 8 states participated in the summit – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE. Impressive representation for a region in which very few countries have advanced nuclear infrastructures or capabilities.  The region has only one operating nuclear power reactor (in Iran) and 14 research reactors (in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey).

 

Country  Facility Name Type Thermal Power (kW)
Algeria NUR POOL 1000.0000
Algeria ES-SALAM HEAVY WATER 15000.0000
Egypt ETRR-2 POOL 22000.0000
Iran TRR POOL 5000.0000
Iran ENTC LWSCR SUBCRIT 0.0000
Iran ENTC GSCR SUBCRIT 0.0000
Iran ENTC HWZPR CRIT ASSEMBLY 0.1000
Iran ENTC MNSR MNSR 30.0000
Israel IRR-1 POOL 5000.0000
Israel IRR-2 HEAVY WATER 26000.0000
Libya IRT-1 POOL, IRT 10000.0000
Morocco MA-R1 TRIGA MARK II 2000.0000
Syria SRR-1 MNSR 30.0000
Turkey ITU-TRR, TECH UNIV TRIGA MARK II 250.0000

                                                                           (According to the IAEA Research Reactor Database)

Most countries participating in the summit announced their voluntary national commitments. Some good commitments came from the region:

Algeria committed to updating its domestic regulations to strengthen nuclear security, joining the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), and establishing a Nuclear Security Training and Support Center.

Egypt committed to establishing an independent authority for controlling nuclear materials and to organizing a regional workshop on IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database.

 Israel completed the repatriation of US-origin HEU spent fuel from Soreq research reactor, and committed to ratifying the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT), to ratifying the 2005 Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), and to continuing operating the Megaport Initiative.

 Jordan committed to creating a counter nuclear smuggling team.

Morocco ratified the 2005 Amended CPPNM, and committed to enhancing border control and national capacity to detect illicit trafficking. It also committed to adopting a new legislation on nuclear and radiological safety and security which envisages the establishment of an independent authority for nuclear safety and security, as well as establishing a center of excellence.

Saudi Arabia established a center of excellence and pledged to contribute $500,000 to the UN Security Council 1540 Committee.

Turkey committed to ratifying the 2005 Amended CPPNM and the ICSANT; inviting the IAEA’s International Physical Protection Advisory Service for a follow-up review, and drafting a new regulation on the physical protection of the nuclear facilities and nuclear material.

United Arab Emirates issued new regulations related to nuclear security and committed to establishing a regulatory infrastructure regarding the management of radioactive material.