PGMA bats for heightened global nuclear security

April 14, 2010 10:34 pm 

WASHINGTON D.C., April 14 — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo batted here Wednesday for heightened nuclear security among nations, and served warning that nuclear materials can fall into wrong hands that may launch terror attacks of catastrophic proportions.

The Philippine leader cited Presidents Obama and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia for moving closer to the reduction of their respective nuclear arsenals through a historic nuclear arms reduction agreement signed last week.

“Mr. President, our duty at this Nuclear Security Summit is to realize that bad things can happen. The world remains a dangerous place,” President Arroyo said in an explanatory message to the just-concluded two-day gathering of 49 state leaders upon the invitation of US President Barack Obama.

“As leaders, we must not just talk responsibly, but act decisively,” President Arroyo stressed.

She added that cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in preparing and implementing nuclear security plans and ratifying the IAEA additional protocol, would be “decisive action.”

Since the infamous 9/11 terrorist attack on US soil, there has been heightened concern that nuclear devices might fall “not just into the hands of a rogue nation, but non-state terrorists or terrorist organizations.”

“We come together today in time of deep concern by all nations and all peoples who expect us to act to protect our people from letting nuclear weapons fall into the hands of individual committed to apocalyptic ideas,” the Chief Executive said.

President Arroyo informed the Summit participants that the Philippines’ National Nuclear Security Plan, finalized last year in cooperation with the IAEA, was based on three lines of defense: prevention, detection, and response.

She said implementation of the Plan would be the Philippines’ contribution to the establishment of a global nuclear security region.

An example of prevention, she said, is the proper security of all Category 1 and Category 2 radioactive sources in the Philippine National Research Institute (PNRI) and its licensees such as hospitals and industries.

An example of detection is the mega-ports initiative with the United States Department of Energy (USDOE) which, President Arroyo said, has equipped the Port of Manila with radiation portal monitors.

The President said that an example of response is the national radiological emergencies arising from malevolent acts involving radioactive materials.

She called on the IAEA to “maintain a balanced approach among its three pillars: science and technology, safety and security, and safeguards and verification.

A foolproof nuclear security arrangement, the President said, will require a wide range of actions, including the Additional Protocol of the Strengthened Safeguards System “which better enables the IAEA to verify whether a State is living up to its international commitments not to use nuclear programs for nuclear weapons purposes.” (PNA)

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