IAEA Director General Amano gives speech at conference

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano gave an opening speech for the International Conference on Nuclear Security on Monday.

Amano first said that this was the first time the conference was being held on the very important subject of enhancing global efforts on nuclear security and was being held at ministerial level, making it open to all IAEA member states.

Amano went on to talk about the great achievements they have accomplished over the past ten years, including the measures countries have taken to prevent theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear or other radioactive material. Amano said that security had been improved at numerous facilities containing nuclear material.

"Partly as a result of these efforts, there has not been a terrorist attack involving nuclear or other radioactive material," Amano said. "But this must not lull us into a false sense of security. If a "dirty bomb" is detonated in a major city, or sabotage occurs at a nuclear facility, the consequences could be devastating. The threat of nuclear terrorism is real, and the global nuclear security system needs to be strengthened in order to counter that threat."

Amano then talked about specific incidents of nuclear terrorism, like the case in Moldova two years ago. He stressed that any incidents involving nuclear materials being stolen or lost are of grave importance.

"Nuclear and other radioactive materials are an essential part of modern life," Amano said. "They provide great benefit to human beings in medicine, industry and many other areas. It is vitally important that these materials are protected from misuse by those who wish to do harm. That requires constant vigilance, as well as collective action."