NATIONAL

Nuke summit to discuss everyday radioactivity

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 13, 2011 - 16:23
  • Updated : Dec 13, 2011 - 20:36
The upcoming 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit’s agenda will include how to ensure the safety and security of radioactive materials widely used in people’s daily lives, a government official said Tuesday.

Korea will host the summit on March 26-27 as a continuation from the first nuclear security summit in April 2010, led by U.S. President Barack Obama, to prevent nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists.

“Terrorism using nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium would have a massive impact, but the probability is low. While terrorism using radioactive materials, widely used in hospitals, would have a smaller impact but the probability is high,” a foreign ministry official said.

“Korea, as a host, persuaded participating countries to discuss the issue of radioactive materials at the upcoming nuclear security summit.”

Fifty-one leaders ― 47 heads of state and the heads of the U.N., IAEA, EU and Interpol ― are expected to attend the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

Another new item on the agenda will be how to create “synergy effects between nuclear security and nuclear power safety in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

As for the possibility of North Korean officials’ participation in the Seoul summit, the ministry official said he could not forecast it.

President Lee Myung-bak repeatedly has said he welcomes Pyongyang to join the summit in March if it shows the international community its sincerity about giving up its nuclear ambitions.

South Korea’s hosting of the nuclear security summit, inviting 47 national leaders, will positively impact the security of the Korean Peninsula, the ministry official said.

In November, Seoul formed an eminent persons’ group to give advice on Lee’s hosting of the nuclear security summit. The 15-member group includes India’s former President Abdul Kalam, Singapore’s Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, former Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and former South Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)