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Daily Dutch News in English

The Netherlands to host Nuclear Security Summit in 2014

The Netherlands is to host the third Nuclear Security Summit in 2014. The purpose of the Summits, which are an initiative of President Obama, is to promote nuclear security, by preventing nuclear terrorism and the traffic in nuclear material. The first was held in Washington DC in 2010.

As of today, the Netherlands takes over from South Korea as Chair.

Yesterday and today more than fifty countries took part in the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea. The Netherlands called for tighter security measures to prevent nuclear terrorism and trafficking in nuclear material. ‘Nuclear terrorism and the traffic in nuclear material pose a serious threat to global security,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal. ‘So measures to prevent them are a top priority for the Netherlands.’

Prevention of trafficking in nuclear material is especially relevant for the Netherlands, given its position as a logistics hub, with the Port of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport. Mr Rosenthal expressed his support at the Summit for the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to enhance nuclear security.

The Netherlands joined Belgium, France and the United States in issuing a declaration on phasing out the use of highly enriched uranium. ‘We have to prevent terrorists and rogue states getting their hands on highly enriched uranium to produce nuclear weapons,’ said Mr Rosenthal. ‘The less highly enriched uranium there is in the world, the smaller the chance of illegal trafficking, and the less likely it is to fall into the wrong hands.’

Highly enriched uranium is still used in the production of radioisotopes, the raw materials for nuclear pharmaceuticals. These are used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease. With its reactor in Petten, the Netherlands is one of the world’s main producers. ‘Of course, the Netherlands will ensure that the switch to low-enriched uranium will not harm patients’ interests,’ said Mr Rosenthal.

During the Seoul Summit, the Netherlands called for international cooperation in the field of nuclear forensics. The Netherlands Forensics Institute (NFI) is a global leader in this field. Nuclear forensics is important in tracing the origin of nuclear material and identifying terrorists.