U.S. assumes leadership of G8's non-proliferation bodies

As the head of the G8 in 2012, the United States has assumed leadership of the organization's three non-proliferation bodies.

The United States now chairs the Non-proliferation Directors Group, the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and the Nuclear Safety and Security Group, which will meet throughout the year to develop international nonproliferation objectives among the group's members.

The GP, which was launched at the Kananaskis Summit in 2002, was created initially as a 10 year, $20 billion initiative to support non-proliferation projects in Russia and the former Soviet Union. It has since expanded into additional regions around the world and has extended its mission beyond 2012. It now includes projects aimed at enhancing biological and radiological security, scientific engagement and U.N. nonproliferation efforts.

Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation Thomas M. Countryman plans to host the first meeting of the NPDG at the end of January at the U.S. Department of State. The NPDG is the G8 body that primarily consults on key issues related to nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

The NSSG supports the implementation of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Action Plan for Nuclear Safety, which was created as a response to the Fukushima accident in Japan. The group aims to support the development of nuclear plant safety worldwide, and aids the G8's participation in the IAEA Response and Assistance network. It was also launched at the Kananaskis summit in 2012. It will hold its first meeting in March in Washington, D.C.