The danger of terrorists acquiring nuclear material or sabotaging nuclear facilities will be the focus of the third global Nuclear Security Summit that starts today in The Hague.

Global leaders of government and international organisations from more than 50 nations will meet to discuss and implement measures for improved global nuclear security regimes impervious to international terrorism.

I will represent the Prime Minister at the summit and work to strengthen the nuclear security architecture to support global and regional security in Australia’s national interest.

As the third largest uranium producer in the world, Australia has very strict security controls on mining and export of origin nuclear materials and safeguards agreements with 40 countries for the supply of uranium.

The Australian Government has bilateral agreements with most of the countries that have nuclear power including Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, the UK and the USA.

Australia is ranked first in the world on the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Nuclear Security Index against countries with significant holdings of nuclear material and we are working closely with partners on implementing measures to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons.

Highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium require rigorous security and safeguards measures for their protection. Any terrorist acquisition of these materials would be extremely serious and terrorists in possession of sufficient material and with technical expertise could construct a functional nuclear weapon.

Australia has a strong history as a global leader on nuclear security. In 1996 the Howard Government played a critical role in the negotiation and finalisation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty which prohibits the explosion of any nuclear device by a state party anywhere - underground, underwater, atmospheric or outer space.

I will also take the opportunity to meet with leaders and my counterpart ministers from other nations on matters of bilateral interest and concern.

The Nuclear Security Summit is an important opportunity for leaders from around the world to address the threat of nuclear terrorism through strengthened international cooperation.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555