Obama to Pursue Nuclear Safety, Security, Nonproliferation at Summit

Kent Klein

President Obama is preparing for the second Nuclear Security Summit next Tuesday in Seoul. The president and other world leaders hope to better secure stocks of nuclear weapons and make nuclear energy safer.

Keeping the world's nuclear weapons under control and out of the hands of terrorists are top goals for more than 50 leaders who will gather in the South Korean capital.

They hope to build on the commitments they made at the first Nuclear Security Summit, hosted by President Obama two years ago in Washington.

"Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a cruel irony of history - the risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up," he said then.

Keeping highly-enriched uranium away from terrorists is imperative, says nuclear expert Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund. He spoke recently in New York at a forum hosted by The Korea Society.

"The number-one threat to the national security of the United States is nuclear terrorism, a group getting a bomb or the material with which to build a bomb and detonating it in the United States - a "nuclear 9/11," Cirincione said.

The heavily-guarded demilitarized zone along the border with nuclear-armed North Korea is also on Obama's agenda.  He is expected to meet there with U.S. soldiers.

Pyongyang has denounced the summit as an "unpardonable crime" and an "intolerable grave provocation."

North Korea's nuclear program raises fears in the West. But it will not be one of the summit's main agenda items, says Alexandra Toma, founder of the Fissile Materials Working Group.

"There is no way you cannot not talk about North Korea, but I think that, certainly, Korean experts and the Korean government recognize that the Nuclear Security Summit is much more than that," Toma said.

The safety of nuclear power plants also will be a prominent topic of discussion in Seoul, especially after an earthquake and tsunami led to a nuclear plant meltdown last year in Japan.

At a recent discussion in Washington, Kenneth Luongo, president of the Partnership for Global Security, said the Fukushima disaster showed how much work must be done to improve nuclear power safety.

"And what Fukushima has highlighted for everybody, besides the fact that you can have a major nuclear accident in a highly developed country, is that we do not have an adequate system for dealing with radioactive dangers that cross border," Luongo said.

Before the summit itself, President Obama will meet individually with several other leaders, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs