UN atomic energy agency holds special session on combating nuclear terrorism

2 November 2001
IAEA Headquarters

Amid mounting concerns over terrorist threats, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today held a special session in Vienna aimed at helping to prevent nuclear or radioactive material from falling into the wrong hands, or nuclear facilities from becoming targets.

In his opening address, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei called for stepped-up funding and cooperation in support of the Agency's reinforced programmes. "An unconventional threat requires an unconventional response, and the whole world needs to join together and take responsibility for the security of nuclear material," he said.

Attended by more than 200 experts and officials from the IAEA's member States, the session covered a range of security and safety issues related to nuclear facilities, nuclear material, and radioactive sources.

Speaking to reporters covering the event, Mr. ElBaradei emphasized that the IAEA and its Member States would meet the challenges posed by nuclear terrorist threats. "I am confident we will get the resources we need to invest in stronger preventive measures for nuclear security," he said.

The Director-General outlined the Agency's plans to strengthen any weak links affecting nuclear security. With security levels currently uneven worldwide, he stressed the need for all States to apply international standards uniformly. "It's not enough that some States have strong systems for nuclear security, while others are weaker," he said. "States that have the resources and know-how will have to help States that do not so that high levels are achieved everywhere."

The special session on nuclear terrorism capped a week of meetings centred on the IAEA's Symposium on International Safeguards, which began on 29 October.


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