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Opinions & Interviews

24 Jan 2014

NTI: Belarus’ nuclear security index improves significantly

NTI: Belarus’ nuclear security index improves significantly

MINSK, 24 January (BelTA) - For the past two years Belarus’ nuclear security index has improved significantly, NTI Vice President, Nuclear Materials Security, Dr. Page Stoutland said during the presentation of the NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index at the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, BelTA learned.

At the beginning of this year, the American non-governmental organization Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) released the 2014 NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index, a unique public assessment of nuclear materials security conditions in 176 countries. On this index Belarus is ranked 9th, the highest among the countries of the former Soviet Union. "Belarus is not only among the states with the highest index. For the past two years the country has significantly improved its positions," said Page Stoutland.

He said that the NTI holds nuclear security summits which have started bearing fruit. At the summits 2010 and 2012, many states in possession of weapons-usable nuclear materials made commitments to reduce them, to ratify the relevant conventions and adopt certain measures. Dr. Page Stoutland explained that Belarus has not yet participated in the summits, and expressed the hope that this situation will change in the future. He also stressed that Belarus holds an important place in the Eastern European region, including owing to its scientific potential.

Speaking about the challenges in ensuring the security of nuclear materials and strengthening security in the world, Dr. Page Stoutland drew attention to the fact that at this stage there is no effective global protection system for weapons-usable nuclear materials. The legal framework of the matter remains weak. In addition, most of the world's stocks of weapons-usable nuclear materials are used under military programs not civilian programs and are not covered by existing international monitoring mechanisms. In general, he said, the stocks of weapons-usable nuclear materials have been gradually declining, but in some countries they have been increasing.

According to Dr. Page Stoutland, among the collective measures that could prevent the spread of weapons-usable nuclear materials is reaching a consensus on the main principles of the global system, and signing a treaty on nuclear security and strengthening mechanisms for voluntary measures. This can become a platform for a more substantive discussion on nuclear security in the world.

Nuclear Threat Initiative was established in 2001 by American media mogul Ted Turner and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn with the aim to prevent nuclear terrorism and to combat the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The Nuclear Security Index is based on open sources and reports by states.

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