27 March 2014
South Africa remains firmly committed to maintaining the security of all nuclear and other radioactive material in the country, in keeping with its national and international obligations, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague in the Netherlands on Tuesday.
“We welcome the progress achieved to strengthen nuclear security at national levels and through the relevant multilateral organisations, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Nkoana-Mashabane said. “South Africa stands ready to work together with all members of the international community to raise nuclear security levels internationally.”
South Africa would continue to exercise its right to research, develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, she said, noting that the country had adopted a policy on the beneficiation of its mineral resources, including uranium.
“We also derive great benefit from nuclear applications in areas such as health, nutrition and agriculture. South Africa contributes to these applications through the supply of medical isotopes and is well-placed to produce these isotopes on a large scale using low-enriched uranium fuel.”
According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa “firmly favours a multilateral approach to promoting nuclear security which upholds the centrality of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations, and which respects the international rule of law and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.
“South Africa believes that through a co-operative approach in the relevant multilateral organisations, [nuclear security risks] can be effectively dealt with.”
Nkoana-Mashabane attended the two-day summit along with a South African delegation that included Energy Minister Ben Martins.
Fifty-three countries were represented at the Hague summit, the third Nuclear Security Summit to be held since the inaugural summit hosted by US President Barack Obama in Washington in 2010.
The summit concluded with the adoption of the Hague Communique which, according to the summit website, includes new agreements on “reducing the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world that terrorists could use to make a nuclear weapon”, as well as “improving the security of radioactive material (including low-enriched uranium) that can be used to make a ‘dirty bomb'”.
SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov.za